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BBSRC announces new Council members

11 April 2012

Three new members have been appointed to the Council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts.

The new members are:

  • Professor Sarah Gurr
  • Professor David Richardson
  • Professor Tim Wheeler

The appointments are with effect from 1 April 2012 and will run until 31 March 2016.

Five current members of BBSRC Council have been reappointed for two years until 31 March 2014.

The reappointed members are:

  • Professor John Coggins OBE FRSE
  • Dr David Lawrence
  • Professor Chris Pollock CBE
  • Dr Andy Richards
  • Dr John Stageman OBE

In addition, Professor Peter Fryer has stepped down as a member of Council having completed his current term of office. Professor Fryer joined the Council in 2006.

BBSRC Chair, Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS, said: "I am delighted with the wealth and breadth of experience that these new Council members bring. As world-leading bioscientists they offer skills that will ensure BBSRC remains well-placed to address grand challenges like food security, the aging population and diminishing fuel reserves. Our new members strengthen a Council that is at the forefront of translating world-class bioscience research into the ideas, products and processes that will drive the UK's bioeconomy forward to generate jobs, economic growth and wellbeing."

Sarah Gurr
Professor Sarah Gurr

Commenting on Professor Fryer's retirement, Professor Blundell added: "I'd like to thank Professor Fryer for his considerable contribution during his time as a Council member."

Professor Sarah Gurr

Professor Sarah Gurr was the first woman President of the British Society for Plant Pathology and is Professor of Molecular Plant Pathology at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford. Having authored or co-written 98 research papers and articles, her work reflects a desire to understand the basic mechanisms of pathogenicity in fungi with the strategic goal of controlling fungal disease and applied research in the testing of antifungals. This research has been driven by an interest in the grand challenge of food security. Professor Gurr is committed to public engagement, regularly giving Public Awareness and Understanding of Science (PAUS) lectures that have reached thousands of non-specialist audiences including both school children and adults.

Professor David Richardson

David Richardson
Professor David Richardson

Professor Richardson is Pro Vice Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and Engagement) at the University of East Anglia and has previously held numerous senior positions at the University, including Dean of the Faculty of Science. He has been a member of the University's Executive team for many years and sits on the Council and Senate. Professor Richardson's outstanding contribution to microbiology has been recognised by the award of the Society of Microbiology Fleming Medal and a Royal Society Wolfson Foundation Merit Award. During the last 5 years he has been at the heart of the development of the Research and Innovation Vision for the Norwich Research Park (NRP). The coherence of this activity has led to recent investment of £26m from BBSRC into NRP to help build infrastructure to support the UK bioeconomy.

Professor Tim Wheeler

Tim Wheeler is currently Professor of Crop Science at the University of Reading and Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Department for International Development where he has been a key figure in developing research collaboration between BBSRC and DFID.

Tim Wheeler
Professor Tim Wheeler

For more than 20 years he has published extensively on how climate change could impact on the sustainability of agriculture and food. Tim has provided advice on the sustainability of food and farming to agri-businesses and food multi-nationals. He has extensive experience of working with policy-makers in the UK and internationally: providing information and advice to UK Ministers and to the Governments of Australia and Canada; and acting as Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords in 2010. In 2005 he gave the prestigious Royal Society Public Lecture on 'Growing crops in a changing climate'.


Notes to editors

BBSRC Council is the senior decision making body responsible for determining the policy, priorities and strategy of BBSRC. Appointments are made in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public.

Professor Wheeler is Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Department for International Development.

Professor Richardson has actively canvassed for the Labour Party.

No other new appointees have declared any public appointments. No other political activity has been declared.

Eligible members of Council will receive an honorarium of £6,850 per year. The honorarium is paid in respect of all duties carried out during their appointment to Council.


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:

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