To ensure that BBSRC Science remains at the frontier of international competitiveness, I arrange occasional visits abroad, approximately annually, to check this out on the ground (one such was the Big Data mission to the USA). Given the strategic importance to our portfolio of Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, and the pre-eminence of these countries in fermentations and industrial biotechnology, last week I led a small mission to look at industrial biotechnology in Korea and Japan. Visits in Seoul included meetings with leaders from the Biologics division of Hanwha Chemical, President Kil-Choo Moon and colleagues from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Drs Jong-Hyun Rhie and Tae Hee Kim of the National Research Foundation of Korea, a variety of colleagues from Seoul National University, and – moving more to the translational end – the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology, the Korean Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Korea Drug Development Fund. It was also interesting to note that Samsung is investing heavily in developing a Well Aging Research Centre as part of its Advanced Institute of Technology. [...]
Tag: industrial biotechnology
One of last week’s major meetings was one of our periodic gatherings of the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences, where among other aspects I rehearsed the benefits of Open Access (mentioned last week) for Lower Income Countries.
I enjoyed a talk at the British Library from Nigel Shadbolt on Open Data, was taken through the library’s activities in providing persistent DOIs for datasets (DataCite) and an environmental science resource called Envia. On Open Access, I noted a discussion on the importance of appropriate licensing throughout Europe and elsewhere, and participated in a video about the RCUK Open Access policy. [...]
The week started with a joint Manchester-Brazil meeting on bioenergy and industrial biotechnology, where I learnt in particular about an enormous metagenomics programme at the Brazilian Centre for Bioethanol Science and Technology. Other Agriculture-related meetings included one with Mary Creagh, the Shadow Environment Secretary and one hosted at the Royal Society for the Governing Board of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI).
I spoke at a meeting (pdf) of the Foundation for Science and Technology on the RCUK implementation of Open Access publishing based on the Finch report (Dame Janet Finch was one of the other speakers). With great timeliness, RCUK had earlier that day published its updated Open Access guidance, on which comments are being sought until March 20th. I also contributed to a video that BioMed Central are putting together on Open Access (a link will be given anon). [...]
After returning from the AAAS meeting that I described last week, we had one of our periodic meetings with the Directors and Deputy Directors of the Institutes that we fund strategically. This one was held at the Babraham Institute, where as usual an afternoon of scientific presentations and a laboratory tour was followed by a wide ranging agenda covering a variety of funding and strategic issues. We also had an excellent presentation on public dialogue from Sir Roland Jackson, Chair of our Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel.
Last week the Research Council Chief Executives, along with Iain Gray (Head of the Technology Strategy Board) and David Parker (CEO of the UK Space Agency) had one of our periodic meetings with Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts. Later in the week, and unrelated to the meeting, the Minister announced a £35M tranche of our funding for Industrial Biotechnology, together with £5M from the TSB, as well as delivering a speech and personally authoring a pamphlet on “8 Great British Technologies”. I was unable to attend these events, but did manage to attend part of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum’s other activities. As a major part of our strategy in Industrial Biotechnology, we have also here announced our call on Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.
We also had a very useful meeting of our Research Advisory Strategic Panel, covering all of the activities of our Research Committees and Strategy Advisory Panels. Bringing these all together to exchange views and coordinate strategy and delivery appropriately is an extremely valuable activity. Regarding strategy, the call for inputs into the refresh of our strategic plan is here. [...]