My initial meeting last week was a very pleasant trip to listen to part of the annual symposium of the BSBEC consortium. I am not going to pick out any specific talks or posters (for which I presented the prizes), as that would be egregious, but I can safely comment – as did members of the Scientific Advisory Board – that there is very exciting and world-leading work being done here, that has the potential to improve yields, conversions and processes significantly. [...]
Tag: open access
The week started by attending a symposium to mark the opening of the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, a research centre co-funded (to the tune of £5M each) by Astrazeneca and GSK – implying the highly pre-competitive nature (one might say ‘lack of understanding’) of this space. Inflammation seems like an area ripe for a systems approach.
We had the calendar year’s first meeting of Council, where the main theme was strategic planning, from the light touch refresh of the Strategic Plan to rehearsing and developing both nearer-term plans and those – a subject of our summer strategic meeting – that are likely to be longer term. [...]
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). [...]
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. [...]
Last week involved a busy day at BIS presenting, with our Chair Professor Sir Tom Blundell, to the Triennial Review team, followed by two meetings chaired by David Willetts on Open Access (where there are some interesting developments in the US) and on aspects of the Agri-Tech strategy.
I then travelled to Boston, to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where I was presented with their Fellowship. This was a huge meeting, but a session I especially enjoyed was one on Visualising Science (including Dennis Meredith, Erik Olsen and Yael Fitzpatrick). William Press gave an excellent Presidential lecture, citing (as I have done) the work of Robert Solow in illustrating the ~30% return that investment in civil science and technology brings. Press also mentioned the work of Kenneth Arrow and Zvi Griliches, the fact that positive feedback (education breeds innovation breeds education…) is necessary to account for exponential increases in per capita incomes, and reciprocal shifts in the percentage of resource going on more fundamental and more applied research from public and private sources, respectively. All entirely applicable to the UK. [...]