Tag: strategy

  • Biological transformation

    Uncategorized | Celia Caulcott

    Prof Jackie Hunter is away during early January so her regular blog is hosting guest posts from other BBSRC staff during the next fortnight. This week’s guest author is Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC’s Executive Director for Innovation and Skills and executive lead for industrial biotechnology and bioenergy.

    David Hume
    Celia Caulcott.

    I spent a few days in Cumbria over the holiday period, which is remarkably relevant to many aspects of BBSRC. One of the major industries there is food and farming, not least hill farming. All highly relevant to the Oxford Farming Conference at which the Secretary of State for Defra emphasised as one of the three priorities for the Department going forward is the challenge of growing the rural economy (PDF). Another focus he pointed to is that of our national security in relation to plant and animal disease: a major area of BBSRC investment is in research in these areas and in critical infrastructure such as the new high containment labs being constructed at Pirbright. The Agritech Catalyst, announced recently, will be an important route to supporting research in this area. [...]

  • Food for thought

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Agriculture and food security in various forms were the main areas of focus during the past week. The agri-food chain (i.e. from farm to fork) contributes about £96Bn to the UK economy and is equivalent to 7% GVA (gross value added). It also provides over 3M jobs.

    The UK government recently recognised the importance of the agri-tech sector and published a strategy earlier in the year for the industry. The aim is to ensure that the UK becomes a world leader in agricultural technology, innovation and sustainability both in the UK and globally. I attended my first meeting of the leadership council for the Agri-Tech Strategy whose chair is Judith Batchelar from Sainsbury’s. It will be important going forward that all the key stakeholders work together, including industry, to drive the strategy forward. BBSRC has been very active in this area in the past and the Diet and Health Research Industry Club has been particularly successful and we will continue to play a very active role. [...]

  • The Royal Society of Chemistry, and the GCSA at Rothamsted Research

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    I had a ‘double header’ last week with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the first being a most interesting meeting to discuss how best to develop the Open Data agenda with a variety of chemical data. It is certainly true that while chemical reactions can be described using a Chemical Markup Language, that in most common use has achieved comparatively little penetration among chemists. This contrasts with the near-universal use of markup languages such as SBML and CellML in systems biology to describe biochemical reaction networks, and including the use and availability of sophisticated ontologies and substantial repositories.  Clearly these two communities can learn a great deal from each other.

    The second was an agreeable networking meeting at the Royal Academy. [...]

  • Strategy, Council, TSB and Turkey

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Last week saw my last “two-day event” in which traditionally BBSRC joins up our summer Council meeting with a wider meeting on our strategy. The latter this year involved a facilitated and slightly longer-term look at the kinds of areas that are likely to be important and for which we might seek to ensure we are positioned ahead of the game, whether via community building, highlights, initiatives, equipment pulses or whatever (budgets permitting). The thinking will also feed into our light-touch strategic plan refresh. We were also pleased to welcome the appointment of Prof Carole Goble to Council and the reappointment of Sir David Baulcombe and Jim Godfrey. Defra Chief Scientist Professor Ian Boyd is also now an observer on Council, and we took the opportunity to have a useful separate discussion. [...]

  • 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. [...]