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BBSRC response to review on Governance in Research Council Institutes

30 January 2006

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) welcomes the report of the Office of Science and Technology (OST) review of governance issues relating to Research Council institutes,* - recognising that it calls for change.

“We accept that there have been difficulties at some sponsored institutes,” says Chief Executive, Professor Julia Goodfellow. “This is why we approached OST in the first place and requested a review.”

The report confirms that the BBSRC is correctly implementing the findings of the previous Government review into the governance of its-sponsored Institutes. It states that some of these processes now fall short of current best practice but recognises both that BBSRC is seeking best practice and that it has made progress recently, for example, in improving formal channels of contact with institute governing bodies.

In offering BBSRC six options to consider, with no preferred model, the report reflects the complexity of the situation. “No single option appears to solve all the issues, and this is a challenge,” says Professor Goodfellow. “To help us move forward as quickly as possible, BBSRC has asked Sir Brian Follett FRS to lead an independent analysis of all the options, and to consult widely in order to advise BBSRC Council on the most appropriate model”.

“This is a delicate situation; we need to balance adoption of best practice with careful consideration of the impact on the terms and conditions of the 2,500 staff involved, says Professor Goodfellow. “We are expecting the Follett study to report in October 2006.”

* Research Council Institutes, Centres, Surveys and Units: A Review of Governance Issues. Gavin Costigan, Office of Science and Technology, 30 January 2006.

ENDS

About BBSRC

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. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

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