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Minister visits Babraham Campus to see how bioscience is promoting economic growth

10 September 2010

David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, will hear about the key role being played by bioscience research and training in promoting growth, job creation and increased quality of life when he visits the Babraham Research Campus on Friday 10 September.

The Babraham Research Campus is home to the Babraham Institute, a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Institute undertaking basic biomedical research, Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT) Ltd and around 30 bioventures within Bioincubator Buildings.

During his visit Mr Willetts will visit the bioincubator facilities, meet with senior scientists from the Babraham Institute and BBSRC and tour the Technology Development Lab, which accelerates the development of early-stage bioscience concepts to commercial reality.

Mr Willetts will also hear how the Institute's links with the University of Cambridge, the wider UK research base and international research community are being leveraged to develop skills and training programmes for early career researchers. The skill-set of bioscience researchers, in the private and public sectors, is often cited by bioscience businesses as a key reason for investment in the UK.

Mr Willetts said, "The Babraham Research Campus demonstrates how biosciences are crucial to improving our quality of lives. The campus has a well-deserved global reputation for its contribution to the UK's strong research base, but today's visit will also give me a deeper insight into the vital role it plays in opening up opportunities for new jobs, investment opportunities and economic growth that benefit the Cambridge area as well as the rest of the UK."

While at the Babraham Campus Mr Willetts will meet Dr Mike Romanos, Chief Scientific Officer of Crescendo Biologics, a recent spin-out from BBSRC-supported science at the Babraham Institute. Dr Romanos said, "Crescendo has attracted £4.5M of inward investment to support the development of unique technology to bring next-generation antibodies to the clinic. A key part of our ability to grow, and to generate highly skilled jobs, has been the strong links and proximity to the Babraham Institute, and the facilities of the bioincubator."

Professor Michael Wakelam, Director of the Institute said, "The institute supports BBSRC's mission to drive advances in fundamental bioscience for better health and improved quality of life. The outcomes of this research have the capacity to not only impact upon health but also to contribute, through translation, to the economic recovery."

As a BBSRC Institute, the Babraham Institute is contributing to the Council's strategy to use bioscience to meet major social and economic challenges. The institute undertakes basic biomedical research to understand how cells function and the processes governing healthy ageing and onset of disease. The translation of this knowledge is leading to patents, innovative approaches for therapeutic strategies to tackle healthcare challenges and the creation of new companies.

Discoveries at Babraham have given insight into heart failure, cancer, obesity, inflammatory disorders and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said, "The Babraham Institute has a central role in BBSRC's strategic mission in bioscience research underpinning health. The Institute, through Babraham Bioscience Technologies, has taken a unique approach for promoting the translation of publicly-funded research, which is demonstrating the capacity to drive UK growth and economic recovery."

ENDS

Notes to editors

Photographs will be available from the afternoon of Friday 10 September

Please contact Mr David Illsley on david.illsley@bbsrc.ac.uk or the Graphics office on 01223 496430 / 496364.

About The Babraham Institute

The Babraham Institute is an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) located near Cambridge, undertaking international quality research to support the biomedical aspects of the BBSRC's mission. The Institute's research is focused on understanding the biological events that underlie the normal functions of cells and the implication of failure or abnormalities in these processes. The latest technologies are being used to study the basis of conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, birth defects, cancer and diseases of the immune and cardiovascular systems. With a strategic focus on 'healthy ageing', novel approaches for tackling chronic diseases and public health concerns like obesity and inflammatory disorders are being discovered. www.babraham.ac.uk

About BBSRC

BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

External contact

Dr Claire Cockcroft, Head of External Relations, The Babraham Institute

tel: 01223 496260
mob: 07786 335978