The UK is a small country, with just 1% of the world’s land area and 1% of the world’s human population (albeit with 12% of the scientific citations), and to continue to punch so far above our weight scientifically we have to make the most of our intellectual and physical assets. The Spirit of the Age thus involves collaboration rather than competition. However, to collaborate one needs to know the skills and interests of one’s potential collaborators. To this end we organised a highly successful conference to bring together folk from the BBSRC strategically funded family of Institutes, held at the John Innes Conference Centre in Norwich. [...]
Tag: John Innes Centre
The week began with a constructive meeting with Directors and representatives of our Institutes to discuss further the mechanistic detail of how the scientific and other activities of our Institutes will best be assessed as the next phase of funding is rolled out.
One of the topics that is a source of concern for the research enterprise is based on the changing computational needs of the biological community, and the increasing significance of storage and bandwidth relative to the traditional focus on floating point operations per second. Getting this e-infrastructure right is a key requirement for the future, and several ongoing reviews are seeking to address this. [...]
The week began with a meeting attended by all the Chief Executives and some 800 staff of Research Councils UK at the Swindon STEAM museum (a splendid location celebrating the early days of the Great Western Railway), where we set down some of our collective thinking about a framework for the role of research in a productive economy, in a healthy society and in contributing to a sustainable world. BBSRC then had a senior Executive Away Day where we worked on our strategic thinking in a number of areas, including the delivery of our emerging Strategic Plan that we continue to develop following an extensive consultation phase. [...]
Much of last week was spent in Norwich, first at a moving memorial event for Chris Lamb (obituary) and then in various discussions about scientific strategies for both the John Innes Centre (JIC) and the Norwich Research Park (NRP) more generally. Scientific research and development represent the major drivers of economic growth throughout history, and the NRP is recognized as an extremely important contributor to the economic life of the region (and the UK generally). Thus, an economic impact report commissioned in 2008 shows that the John Innes Centre contributes over £170M annually to the UK economy, demonstrating both the impact and relevance of the excellent scientific research undertaken, and validating the investment of public funding to support it. [...]