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Taiwan and the UK BBSRC sign a MOU for biotechnology research cooperation

26 November 2010

On 25 November 2010 the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the UK (BBSRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pursue cooperation in biotechnology research, with a focus on "Food security", "Bioenergy and industrial biotechnology", and "Basic bioscience underpinning health". The MoU was signed in London by NSC Deputy Minister Cheng-Hong Chen and BBSRC Chief Executive Douglas Kell in a ceremony presided over by Siao-Yue Chang, Representative of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK.

NSC Deputy Minister, Professor Cheng-Hong Chen said "The MoU was signed based on the mutual strategic goals, and in a hope that biotechnological research will ultimately help to find solutions for the pressing issues facing humankind, including food security, energy crises and problems posed by ageing populations. It is also hoped that such cooperation with the UK's renowned biotechnology in the world will broaden the international participation of the Taiwanese biological sector."

The NSC is the main government's research funding agency in Taiwan and its annual budget is around £740M. The NSC annually invests around £435M in academic research in the fields of life sciences, medicine, agriculture, engineering and applied sciences, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences as well as science education. The promotion of international technological cooperation is one of the NSC's main policies. At the same time it has been dynamically improving its own technological research environment and infrastructure, the NSC has also in recent years proactively engaged in a variety of international activities. These include collaboration on research programmes, sharing of research facilities, facilitation of mutual visits and the exchange of information. The purpose of these activities is to ensure that research results are widely shared and technological research and development can advance further. The MoU between Taiwan and the UK encapsulates this mission, setting a remarkable milestone in bilateral cooperation on new technologies. As Representative Siao-Yue Chang stated in her opening statement: "by joining forces, (I believe that) together we will make people's lives happier and healthier, making tomorrow's world a greater place to live in."

BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Douglas Kell said "BBSRC has a strong vision for bioscience research that will promote innovation and realise benefits for society. We cannot achieve our vision alone and so working with NSC and other funders around the world we are able to encourage international collaboration between bioscientists. International collaborations are vital to ensure a coordinated and efficient approach to tackling global issues and are also an excellent opportunity for us to learn about the needs of end users outside of the UK. Partnerships such as this one with NSC in Taiwan will enable us to deliver the fullest range of social and economic impacts from the work that we fund."

The UK is renowned for its advanced research in biotechnology. Its extraordinary and world-transforming achievements range from antibiotics, insulin, and DNA to Dolly the world's first cloned sheep. The BBSRC, one of seven research councils working together as Research Councils UK (RCUK), is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by the UK Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for people and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes. In 2009, a report published by Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) showed that the UK was leading the world in biotechnology research. Today the agreement between NSC and BBSRC in the UK effectively reflects the increasing recognition and appreciation from the international community of Taiwan's contribution in biological area, which is without a doubt the result of the NSC's steadfast support of academic research.

ENDS

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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.