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BBSRC Supports Institute University Partnerships
(Response to Prospect Media Release of 8 May 2007)

9 May 2007

BBSRC Council’s decisions to support partnerships with universities for some of its sponsored institutes are based primarily on providing the best possible future for staff, to optimise new scientific opportunities, enhance access to multidisciplinary approaches and provide a more sustainable future in the medium to long term.  

“BBSRC Council puts the long-term sustainability of high quality research at the top of its priorities when considering the future direction and governance of the institutes,” said BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Julia Goodfellow. “It is vital that UK institutes are large enough and have the breadth of research capacity to compete internationally; and forming partnerships with university departments is one way of achieving this.”
 
 “BBSRC’s decisions are science-led, and have been informed by input and advice from the Institute Governing Bodies. We are taking care to maintain a focus on key institute expertise and programmes within any proposed new arrangements. We believe this offers the best possible opportunity for institutes researchers and is very far from the ‘lesser of two evils’ suggested by the Union,” said Professor Goodfellow.

BBSRC has confirmed that its planned funding to institutes to 2011 is not affected by proposed changes in governance.

In Scotland, where BBSRC is investing over £30M towards the new EBRC with the University of Edinburgh, the move to form a new 450-strong world class centre for animal science has been widely welcomed. The new Centre, which will be formally established next year, brings together the Roslin Institute including the Neuropathogenesis Unit, (formerly part of the Institute for Animal Health), the University’s School of Veterinary Studies and the Scottish Agricultural College. A new director has already been recruited and started on 1st May 2007. 

In Wales, the proposed collaboration between the University of Wales Aberystwyth and IGER at Plas Gogerddan has been warmly welcomed by the Institute, the University and  the  Welsh Assembly Government;  and together with the partnership with the University of Wales Bangor offers a strong way forward for research in sustainable land use. 

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