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BBSRC publishes review of 2007-08

23 July 2008

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has today published its Annual Report and Accounts 2007-08. The Annual Report reviews a year of excellent, world-class science from the BBSRC research community and increasing effort and achievement in translating outputs into economic and social benefits.

The Annual Report and Accounts is available from: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/publications/accounts/

Dr Peter Ringrose, Chairman of BBSRC, commenting on another successful and challenging year, said: “During the past year BBSRC has made further significant progress in delivering economic and social impact from the research we fund. Investing in and reinforcing the excellence of the UK’s bioscience research base remains our number one priority, but we all acknowledge that excellent fundamental science, knowledge transfer and wider innovation go hand-in-hand. When Government, industry and the academic community work within this symbiotic relationship we have our best guarantee that can maintain the UK’s pre-eminence in bioscience.”

BBSRC’s achievements during 2007-08 include:

  • Securing an extremely good settlement from the Science Budget. This will see BBSRC’s budget rise to £471M by 2010-11.
  • Measures to strengthen mathematical skills and resources in the research community, and £23M committed to support six projects in Systems Approaches to Biological Research.
  • The announcement of £34M of collaborative funding with the Technology Strategy Board for investment in emerging areas most likely to raise industrial competitiveness in the next decade.
  • The successful launch of the Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC) with 13 contributing industrial partners. Also a second round of awards from BBSRC’s Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC), which now has 19 industrial partners.
  • Twelve new projects on improving crop productivity and food security in developing countries as part of a £7M partnership with the Department for International Development.

Once again, the BBSRC research community has demonstrated why the UK bioscience base is second only to the US. Highlights from BBSRC-funded scientists include:

  • Scientists at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry have identified an important target that holds significant promise for millions of people suffering from allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and a range of other inflammatory diseases.
  • Researchers at Imperial College, London have overcome two significant obstacles to harnessing stem cells to build patches for damaged hearts.
  • Scientists at the University of Cambridge provided definitive evidence for the single origin of humans in sub-Saharan Africa. The research showed that human genetic diversity decreased in populations the further they were from Africa.
  • A team at the University of Glasgow, along with scientists at AstraZeneca gained new insights into inhibition of monoamine oxidase enzymes.  The results of this research offer new ways of reducing side effects from anti-depressant drugs.
  • Three new spin-out companies in the field of antimicrobial agents have been funded by BBSRC.  These companies will be identifying targets for vaccines and antibiotics, developing new types of drugs that target bacterial gene expression and working with the pharmaceutical industry to develop inhibitors of bacterial DNA replication.
  • The work of BBSRC funded scientists at Rothamsted Research is helping growers cope with new features of aphid pest attack in a changing climate.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The BBSRC 2007-08 Annual Report and Accounts have been laid before Parliament. BBSRC is required by Schedule 1 to the Science and Technology Act 1965 to submit a report on its activities to Parliament.

Copies of the Annual Report and Accounts are available on request or from: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/publications/accounts/.

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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