RCUK Chief Executives and others had a very good meeting with a high-level French delegation, including François Houllier, President of INRA. I also had a very useful one with the Commercial Farmers Group. [...]
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. [...]
Last week saw a number of meetings connected with the Babraham Institute. In the first I performed the official opening of the new ‘Building 570’ that brings together a majority of Babraham scientists, including both experimentalists and those involved in computational biology. In addition, we had one of our regular Institute Partnership meetings, reviewing progress against BBSRC-funded strategic programmes and other issues.
I enjoyed an interesting exhibition at the British Library on Science, Art and Data Visualisation, as well as a networking meeting for various of the BIS partner bodies where I had a useful discussion with Jim Milne from the Royal Society of Chemistry about their imaginative and exciting innovations in Open Access Publishing. Here is a useful link to part of the European debate about some of the benefits that Open Access will provide, and that we need to ensure are not stymied. [...]
Following our latest Audit Board meeting, I made an appearance (available for a while to be viewed on Parliament TV) before the very distinguished House of Lords Science and Technology Committee to discuss the RCUK implementation of the Open Access (OA) agenda. The draft transcript of that will be forthcoming before too long, and will soon enough be published. Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts also gave evidence, just after us.
This year, BBSRC sponsored a Table at the annual dinner of the BioIndustry Association, where we were delighted to host the Minister – who gave a short and very upbeat speech about the prospects for Biotechnology – and other guests. We were also very pleased that Council member Andy Richards received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and that the winners of this year’s Biotechnology YES competition were in attendance. The BIA also published a second report (PDF) on Citizens’ Innovation funds, as one way to help fund biotechs, while the Government Office for Science published an interesting report (PDF) on assisting engagement between academia and policymakers. [...]
The understanding of biochemical and other networks is an important part of systems biology, and I enjoyed attending an interesting seminar on “network-based drug design” by Péter Csermely of Semmelweiss University, where I was alerted to a number of his papers such as this one, and even a book, that had passed me by. Not for the first time, one is led to lament the difficulty of keeping up with the voluminous literature.
We had a meeting of the Chairs of the Institute Assessment Panels. Council also met.
I attended the launch by Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts of the Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth paper (pdf), which set down a number of important initiatives for the research base. [...]