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Renewable energy, healthier ageing, animal welfare, new medicines - what do the public think about the direction of bioscience research?

8 February 2006

What? BBSRC Open Meeting
Where? Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA
When? Monday, 20 February 2006, 4-6pm

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is holding its second annual open meeting in Manchester later this month. The meeting, at Manchester Town Hall on 20 February, will give members of the public and the science community the opportunity to discuss the Council’s current and future priorities – and the issues around how £330M a year of public money is spent on bioscience.

The meeting, which will be facilitated by BBC Crimewatch UK presenter Nick Ross, will hear from Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, a member of BBSRC Council and leader of the neuroimmunology group at the University of Manchester, and Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, about BBSRC’s current priorities and plans for the future. Audience members will be able to ask questions about policies and activities across BBSRC’s remit, including funding, training, and public engagement.

The meeting will also look at BBSRC’s business and innovation activities, enabling people to discuss industrial partnerships and the issues around commercialisation of science. Dr Doug Yarrow, BBSRC Director of Corporate Science, and David Corr of Corr Willbourn Research and Development, will talk about the twin challenges of showing the economic benefit of public investment in bioscience research and meeting the expectations of wider society. They will then take questions and join a debate on BBSRC Knowledge Transfer activities.

Professor Goodfellow says, “BBSRC science ranges from agricultural and plant science through to biomedical research, such as stem cell and brain science. We use public money to fund research that touches everyone’s lives so we are keen to discuss with the public the issues around what we should be concentrating on in the future. We are also aware of different opinions about how we should be working with business to commercialise the research we fund. BBSRC has a wide range of Knowledge Transfer activities, including efforts to teach young researchers entrepreneurial skills, to give support to scientists who have a commercially viable idea and funding to improve the research capabilities of small business. I am hoping for a lively debate on the issue so that we can discuss whether BBSRC needs to do more or if the public thinks we should have a different approach.”

Professor Rothwell comments, “ Manchester is a centre of excellence for bioscience research. I am pleased that the science community and public in the North West will have the opportunity to discuss the future priorities of BBSRC. BBSRC are the largest public funder of bioscience research in the country so I hope that as many people as possible will take the time to make sure that their views are heard.”

Drinks and light refreshments will be served after the meeting.

ENDS

Members of the media are welcome to attend the Open Meeting.

Public entrance to the Open Meeting is free but by ticket only. Members of the public should contact 01793 413265 or e-mail: diane.sly@bbsrc.ac.uk for more information.

Notes to editors

This will be the second Open Meeting held by BBSRC. Questions are welcome on any aspect of BBSRC’s policies and can either be submitted in advance or raised on the day.

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

Contact

Patrick Middleton, Head of Engagement

tel: 01793 413368

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382