Tag: prize

  • Innovation, lively discussions and healthy trees

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    One of my highlights last week was our Fostering Innovation event which was excellently organised by the BBSRC team. At the event we celebrated the finalists for the BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2014 and the Activating Impact competitions. Luke Alphey, from the Pirbright Institute, won the Social Innovator category and was named as overall winner of Innovator of the Year for his work at Oxitec on the genetic control of mosquitos to prevent disease, with Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London jointly winning the Activating Impact award. Curtis Dobson from Manchester won Commercial Innovator award and Cathie Martin and Eugenio Butelli, both from The John Innes Centre, won the Most Promising Innovator category. It was of course particularly pleasing to see two of our strategically funded institutes amongst the winners! I would like to thank our judging panel for taking the time to participate and select the winners – it was apparently a very difficult decision. I did manage to talk to nearly all the finalists who had all brought along their iconic, representative object for display and was impressed by the variety of innovations present and the culture of seeking to translate research into social and economic impact that is present in our research community. [...]

  • Research Councils’ Executive Group, white heat and prizes

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    The main meeting last week was my final one of the Research Councils’ Chief Executives Group. We often have discussions with relevant organisations, and this time we had a very constructive and helpful session with Universities UK in the form of its Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge and its President Sir Chris Snowden (also Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey).

    I note that we have just passed the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s famous “White Heat of Technology” speech – its sentiments bear reflection today. [...]

  • Evaluations, Gatsby and partnerships

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    As previously, this is the season of internal evaluations of the activities and achievements of Swindon Office Directors during the last year (though since the governance changes I provide only advisory comments on Directors of our Institutes enjoying sustainable support), and I carried out a number of these.

    We had, after a long gap, another meeting with the Gatsby Foundation and Two Blades, and I had a very helpful 1:1 meeting with Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts. [...]

  • Bioeconomy in action and Innovators of the Year

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    The first part of last week was spent at the superb Bioeconomy in action meeting (twitter @bioeconomy_dk) arranged under the auspices of the Danish Presidency of the EU. Recognising the integrated nature of the bioeconomy that starts with the plant-based (and possibly algal) photosynthesis of biomass and creates high value products, speaker after speaker saw this as the vision for the creation of sustainable growth and jobs. The meeting was far too broad and detailed to repeat all of the messages, but some came through both strongly and regularly, such as the need to integrate farmers into the vision for food and non-food crops, the importance (stressed especially by Ruud Lubbers, ex-Prime Minister of the Netherlands) of taxing net CO2 production, and the key role of scientific research in effecting sustainable intensification of agriculture and subsequent biotransformations. The decline in manufacturing in the UK in favour of financial ‘services’ means that we are a little behind parts of Europe, but the situation is retrievable as we are at the beginning of the transition (back) to a bioeconomy. Many processes are already operating at scale, e.g. a huge bio-succinate plant for bioplastics built by Novamont in Italy, and the very large IAR Cluster biorefinery in the Champagne-Ardenne and Picardy regions of France. Neither did the meeting forget the importance of nutrition in a healthy lifestyle, and the likely diabesity epidemic if we do not act. Overall, an inspiring meeting, and it is worth giving the link http://ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/index_en.htm to the European Bioeconomy website explicitly. [...]

  • Celebrating scientific successes

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Last week was an unusually celebratory one, in that I attended a number of functions that involved celebrations of UK and more general scientific endeavours. One function, including a flash-bang pyrotechnic display and sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry, was arranged at the House of Commons to celebrate the launch of the International Year of Chemistry. Another at the University of Manchester celebrated the award of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics to Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, while on Tuesday I attended the launch of the astonishingly comprehensive and authoritative Global Food and Farming Futures Foresight report.  I also attended the annual celebration of the BioIndustry Association, also attended by the winners of the Biotechnology YES competition that we co-sponsor. [...]