Tag: impact

  • Basic research investment produces impact

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    It is always pleasing to see our investments in the research base bearing fruit whether it be in excellent publications or social and economic impact. So the announcement by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute of the creation of a new Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV) at Hinxton was very welcome. The new CTTV will aim to address a wide range of human diseases and will share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery. This new centre will employ up to 50 people from the partner organisations but longer term will involve other organisations and companies who are interested in this area. It was particularly good to receive confirmation from Patrick Vallance, President of R&D at GSK, that their decision to base the CTTV in the UK was influenced by their recognition of the UK’s world class capabilities and skills in the areas of genomic, data mining and translational research. Much of this capability has been built using BBSRC funding for basic research in bioinformatics and genomics, along with other funders such as the Wellcome Trust and MRC. The CTTV will itself be based in the EBI South Building, home of the ELIXIR Hub and built with Research Council funding led by BBSRC. [...]

  • Innovation, lively discussions and healthy trees

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    One of my highlights last week was our Fostering Innovation event which was excellently organised by the BBSRC team. At the event we celebrated the finalists for the BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2014 and the Activating Impact competitions. Luke Alphey, from the Pirbright Institute, won the Social Innovator category and was named as overall winner of Innovator of the Year for his work at Oxitec on the genetic control of mosquitos to prevent disease, with Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London jointly winning the Activating Impact award. Curtis Dobson from Manchester won Commercial Innovator award and Cathie Martin and Eugenio Butelli, both from The John Innes Centre, won the Most Promising Innovator category. It was of course particularly pleasing to see two of our strategically funded institutes amongst the winners! I would like to thank our judging panel for taking the time to participate and select the winners – it was apparently a very difficult decision. I did manage to talk to nearly all the finalists who had all brought along their iconic, representative object for display and was impressed by the variety of innovations present and the culture of seeking to translate research into social and economic impact that is present in our research community. [...]

  • I am going to run a half marathon…

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week I gave my second regular talk to staff at BBSRC Swindon Office since I started in this role, highlighting some of the exciting science we have funded and our areas of focus this year. As part of our 20th Anniversary year we are supporting two charities through a range of voluntary fundraising activities by staff. The two charities chosen by members of BBSRC staff are Water Aid and the Honeypot Children’s Charity and we invited representatives from each to the meeting. Both of these are very worthwhile causes. The Honeypot Children’s Charity helps young carers and vulnerable children between the ages of 5 and 15. They provide an annual respite break where children can meet others in similar circumstances as well as on-going support. £425 can fund a child for a year and make a real difference to their lives. There must be a link between this charity with its name and logo with some of our funded bee researchers – ideas please! [...]

  • Communicating impact and BBSRC’s 20th anniversary

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    I can’t believe that we are already in February! Since coming back from my holiday at the beginning of January (long planned family trip to the sun somewhat marred initially by Force 8 gales in the Atlantic), I have been meeting a number of key stakeholders in BIS, both individually and with my RCUK Chief Executive colleagues, one occasion being the regular RCUK Executive Group meeting with David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science.

    These meetings have only served to emphasise the importance of communicating our impact in ways that are clear and easily understandable to non-specialists. As I have said before we have great stories to tell, but we need to tailor the message to the intended audience more effectively. [...]

  • “Science isn’t finished until it is communicated”

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Recently I came across an interesting quote from Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser. It was “science isn’t finished until it is communicated” delivered as part of a speech on climate change at a meeting in Cambridge. As scientists, we do have a duty to not only report our research to other scientists (to funders, the scientific community) but also to communicate relevant scientific findings to both the public and policy makers. How the information is conveyed will need to be contextualised in a way that is meaningful to the intended audience and this can sometimes be difficult. For example, my family frequently tell me that I go into too much detail and overcomplicate things when I am trying to explain some interesting science to them (and they are an engineer and an economist!). An informed society will be able to make more considered choices and be more readily able to engage in future public debates about science and its application and to take full advantage of what scientific advances are making possible. [...]