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Exploiting new ways of working

Overview

Exploiting New Ways of Working (ENWW) is one of three enabling themes in the current BBSRC Strategic Plan: The Age of Bioscience (2010-2015). The ENWW theme promotes innovative working practices underpinning all of BBSRC's research remit, in an era of rapid technological advancement. Strategy development in the ENWW area is informed by the ENWW Strategy Advisory Panel (ENWW SAP), which brings together eleven experts from academia and industry to advise BBSRC (see below).

Drivers

Cutting-edge bioscience is critically dependent on the availability of modern research infrastructure and the adoption of new ways of working:

  • Support for technology development and an associated strengthening of the skills base is required in order to embed the latest equipment in facilities, and enable multidisciplinary research.
  • In order to investigate complex biological phenomena, researchers need access to comprehensive, integrated and interoperable data resources, built to community-accepted standards.
  • BBSRC's goal is for researchers to routinely apply computational and mathematical techniques to high-quality quantitative biological data – this will enable a deeper and more rapid understanding of complex biological problems. Exploiting information-rich approaches is essential to maintaining the UK's competitive position.

Delivery

Exploiting New Ways of Working Strategy Advisory Panel

The ENWW SAP, and its associated expert working group(s), provide advice to BBSRC on the strategic direction of its research, training and knowledge exchange portfolio in areas relevant to ENWW, in order to maintain the competitiveness of the UK in line with the Strategic Plan. Working groups are established in order to provide in-depth strategic advice on a particular topic and normally meet 2-3 times. Recent ENWW SAP working groups have considered digital organisms and metagenomics.

Annual calls

  • Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund:
    The Bioinformatics and Biological Resource Fund was established to tackle a strategic need, identified by BBSRC, to provide 'proper support for resources such as databases, genetic resources and culture collections which require long term maintenance and curation' and plays an important role in enabling data sharing in the biosciences, as mandated by our data sharing policy. The Bioinformatics and Biological Resource Fund launches around February/March each year.
  • Tools and Resources Development Fund:
    Through the first call of the Tools and Resources Development Fund, which launches annually in June/July, we support small or short-duration, pump-priming projects that enable excellent bioscience, encourage applications that develop novel tools, technologies and methods spanning the breadth of BBSRC research and underpin in the long-run all of our strategic priorities and the wider biosciences.

    The second call of the Tools and Resources Development Fund, launched annually in June/July, supports small or short-duration, pump-priming projects that enable excellent bioscience, encourage the development of novel software tools, technologies and computational methods for research challenges within our remit and help underpin research in the wider biosciences.

Looking ahead

BBSRC will continue to support developments in tools, technologies and computational approaches that enable researchers to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and increase the impact of their research.

Through the delivery of targeted initiatives, such as the 'Crowd Sourcing for the Biological Sciences' and 'Synthetic Biology Research Centres' calls, BBSRC will support emerging areas and ensure researchers are able to take advantage of the latest cutting edge developments.