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Video transcript: £67 million investment in bioscience skills and training to help meet economic and social challenges for the future

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January 2012

Video shot in glasshouse at a press announcement whilst David Willets MP speaks and indoors while others are being interviewed.

David Willets MP
Well thank you all very much for having me here to visit and I am here not just to see the university, though that is a reason itself also because we are announcing today the very significant investment by the BBSRC. We are going to be spending £67m on the future of research in food by producing no fewer than supporting 660 four year PhD students in 14 doctoral training partnerships.

Dr Celia Caulcott, Director, Innovation & Skills, BBSRC
Doctoral training partnerships are BBSRC's way of dealing with a really important aspect of the training of future scientists. We want not just the best students, not just the most excellent training but we want to work with the universities delivering that training we want to be in partnership with them. We also want to encourage universities to work together in partnership and that is why we are so delighted that BBSRC doctoral training partnerships we've awarded 14 and announced 14 today with 44 different institutions. We could have had 44 separate institutions but we would not as an organisation have been able to have a relationship with those we can with the 14 partnerships that's very important.

David Willets MP
One of the key places where those partnerships are going to be [inaudible segment] university of Reading and what it does it reflects the commitment of the coalition to a science base where of course we have protected the science budget.

Professor Richard Tiffin, Director, Reading Centre for Food Security
So we have been awarded a doctoral training partnership along with the universities of Surrey, Southampton, Lancaster and Rothamsted Research and we've been awarding 18 studentships to look do the research in the food security area. Food security is a major research area for the University of Reading and we've got a long standing reputation in agricultural research, food research and all the sciences that surround that.

David Willets MP
The other very important food sector in Britain is [inaudible segment] by supporting the research on which it depends. The great thing about these new doctoral training centres is there are going to be partnerships between researchers and business we've got here today companies like Waitrose, Kraft and there are researchers who are doing research directly relevant to those business.

Charlotte Mills, PhD student, University of Reading
My projects at BBSRC DRINC funded projects and I am looking at the effects of coffee processing on polyphenols and subsequently potential health benefits or effects so looking at vascular function, micro flora potentially looking at some colon cancer and also the chemistry which underlines the whole process. It is absolutely integral to have links with industry throughout the research they give us a lot of background information about the processing which otherwise we wouldn't have.

David Willets MP
So this is a piece study supporting the science base which is also going to lead us to important new research [inaudible segment] celebration and I very much look forward over the years ahead and to see the production of excellent research scientists will be able to go on and work in business and I am sure value of research project like the one we see here. Let me finish, just by now offering you an explanation of what we see here, because we are not in a garden [inaudible segment] what we see here is a research project by how the production of coca beans is potentially affected by climate change and it matters for countries in West African, like Ghana it matters for companies like Kraft that clearly buy a mass of coca beans so we have to understand how climate change might affect cocoa beans and this is one of the world's leading centres for that research it is a good example of how a genuine scientific research matches real commercial needs and also shows our accountant [inaudible segment].

ENDS