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BBSRC launches institute science plan for next decade

21 December 2005

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has today published its vision for the future direction of science in its sponsored institutes. BBSRC invests around £80M a year in its sponsored Institutes which are leading research centres and provide facilities, multidisciplinary and long-term perspectives that complement university-based science.

The new document, ‘Science and Innovation in BBSRC-sponsored Institutes: The Next Ten Years’, focuses on the contribution of institute science in three big strategically important areas; sustainable agriculture and land use, animal health and welfare and biomedical and food science. It outlines research priorities and how these meet the major challenges facing the UK; such as climate change, diet and health and exotic animal diseases.

Highlights from the BBSRC-sponsored institutes have included the production of Dolly the sheep at the Roslin Institute, the world’s first cloned mammal, the Farm Scale Evaluations of GM crops at Rothamsted Research and the publication of the genome sequence of Streptomyces coelicolor , the bacteria that produces half the world’s antibiotics, by researchers at the John Innes Centre.


Notes to editors

The seven BBSRC-sponsored Institutes are:

Sustainable agriculture and land use

  • Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) - Aberystwyth
  • Rothamsted Research (RRes) – Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  • John Innes Centre (JIC) – Norwich Research Park, Norwich

Animal health and welfare

  • Institute for Animal Health (IAH) – Compton, Newbury, Berkshire
  • Roslin Institute (RI) – Roslin, Midlothian

Biomedical and food sciences

  • Babraham Institute (BI) – Babraham, Cambridge
  • Institute of Food Research (IFR) – Norwich Research Park, Norwich

BBSRC invests around £230M a year in research. Two thirds of which is awarded to universities as research grants and one third supports seven institutes in the form of core and competitive funding. The institutes employ a total of 3000 people – mostly scientists and technical staff, and have an annual turnover of £150M with assets and facilities worth £500M.

In the period 1997-2004 BBSRC institutes published over 200 papers in the Nature family of journals: over 100 in Nature itself; and more than 50 in Science.

Around 40% of the scientific papers published by institutes are with international partners. Institutes are involved in over 200 EU funded collaborations each year, worth more than £7.25M to the institutes.

The institutes are partners in an average of 55 LINK projects at any one time.

Institutes are also partners each year in more than 80 other collaborative projects with industry.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382