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BBSRC highlights bioscientists for their contribution to UK economy

2 June 2008

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has highlighted nearly 50 top bioscience researchers and research groups for their contribution to the UK’s economic and social wellbeing. The groups and individual researchers represent a cross-section of bioscientists, from universities and institutes across the UK and from all parts of the BBSRC science base.

These researchers represent how the UK’s excellent bioscience research base, principally funded by BBSRC with over £400M of public money each year, is making a wide ranging impact on people’s lives. UK bioscience underpins hugely important sectors of the economy, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food and also informs public policy for areas such as healthcare.

Many of the almost 50 highlighted researchers recently joined dignitaries at an event at HM Treasury in London, run by BBSRC, to illustrate the impact of their specific research. Research on show at the event, ‘Bioscience:Biomillions’, included work to understand and defeat hospital superbugs, research to understand ageing and to develop ways to encourage healthier ageing, and research to help farmers increase crop yields and to cope with a changing climate.

Dignitaries attending the event included Ian Pearson MP, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation.

Mr Pearson said: "Bioscience researchers in the UK have not only pursued excellent, world-class research, but they have also been active in ensuring that we all benefit from their efforts.

"In order to remain globally competitive and meet the future challenges of living within our environmental and population limits, it is vital that bioscience researchers continue to maximise the positive economic and social impacts of their research and activities."

Steve Visscher, BBSRC Interim Chief Executive, said: "We award over £400M a year of public funding for bioscience research and innovation. This supports a world class bioscience research base underpins major economic and social sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food, healthcare and the environment. Our researchers are amongst the best in the world in terms of the quality of their science but they are also making huge contributions to quality of life for people through economic and social impact."

The event also highlighted the success of BBSRC initiatives such as the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme in developing the innovators of the future, and the Business Plan Competition in facilitating the birth of new companies.

ENDS

Notes to editors

BBSRC recently presented ‘Bioscience:Biomillions’ at HM Treasury to give scientists, policymaker and industry leaders the chance to meet and celebrate the quality of UK bioscience and its contribution to our economy and society. Nearly 50 top academic researchers were highlighted for their research and social and economic impact.

Full details of ‘Bioscience:Biomillions’, including a complete list of all the bioscientists highlighted for their economic and social impact is available at: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/publications/corporate/bioscience_biomillions.html

More information about BBSRC knowledge transfer and economic and social impact activities is available at: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business

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 £420M 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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