Every pound invested in the BBSRC strategically funded John Innes Centre science today will give £12 back to the UK economy in 10 years' time.
That's the conclusion of an independent report which looks into the impact of the world-leading research at the plant science and microbiology institute on the Norwich Research Park.
The report, compiled by Brookdale Consulting, highlights how fundamental research has already made an impact and how it will continue to do so.
Among the breakthroughs described in the report are:
- How wheat genetics research at JIC has led to increased yields and increased disease resistance in a crop relied on by 1.2 billion people worldwide - leading to an annual contribution of £400M to the UK and £8.7Bn to the global economy.
- The impact of antibiotics research at JIC on soil bacteria, which has given rise to half the antibiotics currently in use today with a £247M annual contribution to the global economy.
- Current research on oil seed rape - the UK's third largest arable crop - could save UK farmers £115M each year in 10 years' time through reduced seed loss.
- New technologies developed at JIC using plants as mini factories to produce useful proteins is already in use in the US, with units on standby to produce vaccines against pandemic flu (avian flu) - the time taken to produce 10m doses of vaccine has been cut from nine months to just 30 days thanks to this technology.
Future research is also highlighted in the report, including studies to develop a form of maize which will 'make' its own nitrogen rather than reliance on nitrogen fertilisers, and a new DNA-based technology which could address antibiotic resistance.