Tag: society

  • I am going to run a half marathon…

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week I gave my second regular talk to staff at BBSRC Swindon Office since I started in this role, highlighting some of the exciting science we have funded and our areas of focus this year. As part of our 20th Anniversary year we are supporting two charities through a range of voluntary fundraising activities by staff. The two charities chosen by members of BBSRC staff are Water Aid and the Honeypot Children’s Charity and we invited representatives from each to the meeting. Both of these are very worthwhile causes. The Honeypot Children’s Charity helps young carers and vulnerable children between the ages of 5 and 15. They provide an annual respite break where children can meet others in similar circumstances as well as on-going support. £425 can fund a child for a year and make a real difference to their lives. There must be a link between this charity with its name and logo with some of our funded bee researchers – ideas please! […]

  • “Science isn’t finished until it is communicated”

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Recently I came across an interesting quote from Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser. It was “science isn’t finished until it is communicated” delivered as part of a speech on climate change at a meeting in Cambridge. As scientists, we do have a duty to not only report our research to other scientists (to funders, the scientific community) but also to communicate relevant scientific findings to both the public and policy makers. How the information is conveyed will need to be contextualised in a way that is meaningful to the intended audience and this can sometimes be difficult. For example, my family frequently tell me that I go into too much detail and overcomplicate things when I am trying to explain some interesting science to them (and they are an engineer and an economist!). An informed society will be able to make more considered choices and be more readily able to engage in future public debates about science and its application and to take full advantage of what scientific advances are making possible. […]

  • Institutes, governance and Science and Technology in Society

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Many of last week’s meetings involved some of the Institutes that receive strategic funding from BBSRC. One involved a catch-up meeting with Prof John Fazakerley, the (relatively) new Director of the Institute for Animal Health, while another involved finalising elements of the changes in governance at the John Innes Centre. The most detailed was the first of the eight Institute Assessment Panels that will be meeting between now and Christmas, leading to funding decisions by BBSRC Council next March. This was the (very high powered) Institute Assessment Panel for Rothamsted Research. I thank them most warmly for their detailed and insightful comments and analyses. […]

  • Science, society, plant breeding and bioinformatics

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Visits to Higher Education Institutes and the like are a significant part of our dialogue, and last week I was pleased to visit the University of Liverpool (whose Vice Chancellor, Sir Howard Newby, is also Chair of the Rural Economy and Land Use scheme). As part of this I was delighted to do the honours at the formal opening of a superb new Proteomics Laboratory at the University, bringing together an enviable suite of state-of-the-art mass spectrometers and related equipment, along with the necessary information management. Following this, I delivered a lecture in the University’s Science in Society series, with the (given) title “Why should the taxpayer fund biosciences research?”. The answers are indeed very obvious, whether from the point of view of its contribution to the economy (see e.g. here and here) or from its role in solving most of the grand challenges faced by Society, leave alone the massive public interest in science and technology. It will be important that we engage constructively with that public interest so that individuals and groups across society may participate in shaping how scientific advances are pursued and deployed to maximise social benefits. […]