Tag: food

  • Food for thought

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Agriculture and food security in various forms were the main areas of focus during the past week. The agri-food chain (i.e. from farm to fork) contributes about £96Bn to the UK economy and is equivalent to 7% GVA (gross value added). It also provides over 3M jobs.

    The UK government recently recognised the importance of the agri-tech sector and published a strategy earlier in the year for the industry. The aim is to ensure that the UK becomes a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability both in the UK and globally. I attended my first meeting of the leadership council for the Agri-Tech Strategy whose chair is Judith Batchelar from Sainsbury’s. It will be important going forward that all the key stakeholders work together, including industry, to drive the strategy forward. BBSRC has been very active in this area in the past and the Diet and Health Research Industry Club has been particularly successful and we will continue to play a very active role. [...]

  • Succession, health, agriculture, P&G and Cheltenham

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    First of all, I was and am delighted to welcome my successor as CEO of BBSRC in the form of Dr Jackie Hunter, with whom I once served on Council. I shall very much look forward to working with Jackie prior to the ‘handover’ in October.

    We had a number of health- and agriculture-related activities, including an RCUK POST reception on the contribution of research to health, one of our regular bilaterals with Defra Chief Scientist Ian Boyd, and a meeting of the ABPI Innovation group to discuss both open data in clinical trials and patient participation in research projects. We also had meetings of the Joint Strategy Group of RCUK Chief Executives with colleagues from BIS, and of the Chairs and Directors of the Institutes to which we provide strategic support. [...]

  • Infrastructures, open access and CSaP

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    The week started with the latest meeting of the e-infrastructure leadership Council, co-chaired by Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts, where the main items centred around developing the details of our strategies for e-science. A second and very interesting meeting on infrastructures, organised by the Foundation for Science and Technology, was addressed by Sir John Armitt, Professor Brian Collins, and Tim Yeo MP, each giving some very insightful perspectives on UK large infrastructure needs, how they might better be joined up, and how we need to increase their recognition as a public good that transcends typical parliamentary timescales, and needs a clearer recognition of the extent to which the private sector can provide that.

    I appeared with others before the Business, Innovation and Skills Commons Select Committee to discuss Open Access (and note the new RCUK guidelines, also as pdf). These meetings are streamed live, and then made available via the internet; our session starts at about 10-49 into the video that may be viewed here. [...]

  • Celebrations, talks and bioenergy

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    As we near the Christmas holidays (and this will be the last blog of 2011), I can look back on an exceptional year of achievement for BBSRC: a ring-fenced budget, many exciting scientific breakthroughs, the maintenance of the UK as the premier nation in biology, and a slew of recent announcements of large capital sums awarded for important biological projects. A measure of this was my latest quarterly talk to staff last week, in which I listed some of these, that occupied fully 90 minutes.

    Much of the rest of the week was punctuated by celebratory events, including a trip to St James’s Palace to launch and take forward thinking on the Festival of food and farming (“Farming in the Park”) taking place in Hyde Park in September 2013. Among the speeches, including one from Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, we were honoured to be addressed by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who spoke eloquently and without notes on the importance of British farming and food, as well as providing a witty and entertaining history of our palatial surrounding. [...]

  • Synthetic biology, 3Rs and food

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Last week started with a useful and constructive meeting of the e-infrastructure advisory group that is looking at the e-science needs of our research community. We aim to report by the end of February.

    Along with Robert Winston, Dave Delpy from EPSRC and Brian Johnson who chaired the recent synthetic biology dialogue activities, I spoke at a very interesting meeting of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee taking forward the Synthetic Biology dialogue. The consensus at all stages of the dialogue has been the clear nuancing and sophistication of views, with no real evidence of ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ camps, and this was again manifest. It was obvious that everyone enjoyed getting to grips with the significant issues involved in assessing the risk: benefit ratio of any new technology such as synthetic biology, along with the recognition that its roll out would change significantly over time. We shall very much be continuing this dialogue in various fora. [...]