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BBSRC response to the Spring Supplementary announcement

21 February 2007

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has today announced that it needs to make reductions of £6.7M in its spending plans as a consequence of a one-off decision by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to reduce the Research Councils’ ring fenced funding by £68M over the current spending review period.*

BBSRC expects to cut the equivalent of twenty new grants, and will reduce its annual competitive funding scheme for new equipment at its sponsored institutes.

“It is inevitable with changes of this size that frontline research will be affected,” said BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Julia Goodfellow. “How deep the damage will be to the UK’s international competitiveness in bioscience depends on how long it takes us to return to our planned trajectory for growth.”

BBSRC will try to protect funding for research training and for strategic priority areas, although there are bound to be some knock-on effects across BBSRC’s science portfolio. It will now not be possible, for example, for BBSRC to meet its DTI-agreed Delivery Plan target of a 4% annual increase in responsive mode grant awards, on time – something which has been a cornerstone in the Council’s commitment to the basic research that drives innovation in the bio-industries.  

BBSRC’s immediate priority is to make savings and to do all that it can to minimise longer-term impact on science and on knowledge transfer and commercialisation of research.

 “We are very disappointed and realise that this reduction will affect individual researchers,” said Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology. “By acting quickly and decisively, we hope to reduce uncertainty for our research community, and we can begin a process of consolidation in anticipation of the future planned investment which will be vital if we are to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in bioscience.”

*The £68M reduction relates to end of year flexibility across all the Research Councils.

ENDS

Notes to editors

A Research Councils UK statement on the Spring Supplementary announcement has also been released.

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

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299
fax: 01793 413382

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382