Tag: trees

  • 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. […]

  • Threats and opportunities

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    This year marks the 350th anniversary of the publication of John Evelyn’s treatise on forestry called Sylva. It was the outcome of a committee set up by the Royal Society to respond to the Royal Navy’s timber shortage arising from the poor state of England’s forests (G. Hemery Nature 507:166-167). It encouraged landowners to plant more trees and care for their forests as an important contribution to the nation’s strategic defence. Oak was the most important tree followed by ash, elm and pine reflecting their importance in construction and everyday life. I see strong parallels in some activities that are on-going now. For instance, last week I attended the second meeting of a committee on animal and plant health sponsored by the Government Office for Science and Defra. The aim of this committee is to review the current status of our ability to respond to new threats such as bovine TB and ash die-back and to make recommendations for a more coordinated approach across government and research councils. […]