Tag: national capabilities

  • A week in California

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    The past week and a bit was spent on the US West Coast, talking to experts in Big Data, Synthetic Biology (Synbio) and Plant and Animal Health. My colleagues, Melanie Welham and Amanda Collis, and I had some fascinating discussions which really helped put our plans for the next spending review in an international context. For example, in Synbio, it is clear that the approach needs to be truly multidisciplinary with a well-articulated biological problem at the heart of any programme rather than developing the tools and technologies in the abstract. However, investment in platforms is still required. It is also clear from talking to a number of researchers that the USA does not have an integrated Big Data strategy nor an overall Synbio strategy, although there are many well-funded initiatives. I wonder whether there is a need for some global solution for integrating and maintaining databases when funding terminates for a particular area. In the biomedical/health space, this might be something for Gates Foundation or another global funder to address in partnership with more regional funders. Who funds, and what to store permanently and how, is definitely something that needs more debate. […]

  • Realising the promise of the bioeconomy

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Recently we in BBSRC have been thinking more holistically about our research and translational activities with a focus on the bioeconomy as it relates to our portfolio. Over the past few years a number of countries (for example, Germany (PDF)) have published Bioeconomy Strategies to provide a focus for funding and industrial activity. One can think of the bioeconomy as encompassing all the economic activity derived from bio-based products and processes. Such products and processes can provide sustainable and resource-efficient solutions for a range of industrial sectors including food, agriculture, chemicals, energy production, health and environmental protection. The size of the bioeconomy is truly staggering – in the EU alone the bioeconomy is estimated to be worth two trillion euros accounting for 22 million jobs, which is about 9% of the EU labour market. Each euro invested in EU-funded bioeconomy research and innovation is estimated to trigger €10 of value added in bioeconomy sectors by 2025. […]

  • Stakeholders and partners

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    I am taking advantage of the relative quiet of August to get out and meet some of our key stakeholders and academic partners. This is one of the best bits of the job as I get to see a range of science and technology – from 10,000 of seedlings being phenotyped to single cell genomics. These visits reinforce the breadth and depth of science we have in the UK and how important this excellence is for companies making investment decisions here. I saw the new collaborative space within the EMBL-EBI ELIXIR building at Hinxton where GlaxoSmithKline scientists are working alongside EBI scientists on target validation. I also got a sneak preview of the 100,000 genomes building the day before it was announced! ELIXIR is a good example of how upfront investment in facilities and capabilities can attract industrial partners to invest in the UK. […]