Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
|Formation||1994 (from merger of 2 other organisations)|
|Type||Non-Departmental Public Body|
|Purpose||Funding of UK biological and biotechnological science research|
North Star Avenue,
|Sir Gordon Duff|
|Melanie Welham (interim)|
|Affiliations||AHRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, RCUK, STFC, TSB, UKSA|
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is a UK Research Council and NDPB and is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience. It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK.
Receiving its funding through the science budget of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), BBSRC's mission is to "promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and related postgraduate training relating to the understanding and exploitation of biological systems".
BBSRC's head office is at Polaris House  in Swindon - the same building as the other Research Councils, AHRC EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC, as well as RCUK and the UKSA. Funded by Government, BBSRC invested over £509M in world-class bioscience in 2014-15. BBSRC also manages the joint Research Councils' Office in Brussels - the UK Research Office (UKRO).
BBSRC was created in 1994, merging the former Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) and taking over the biological science activities of the former Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC).
- Sir Alistair Grant (1994-1998)
- Dr Peter Doyle CBE (1998-2003)
- Dr Peter Ringrose (2003-2009)
- Prof Sir Tom Blundell FRS (2009–2015)
- Prof Sir Gordon Duff (2015-present)
- Prof (now Sir) Tom Blundell FRS (1994 -1996)
- Prof Ray Baker CBE (1996-2002)
- Prof (now Dame) Julia Goodfellow CBE (2002-2007)
- Prof Douglas Kell CBE (2008–2013)
- Dr Jackie Hunter CBE (from 21 October 2013)
- Prof Melanie Welham FRSB (2016-present)
Governance and management
BBSRC is managed by the BBSRC Council consisting of a chairman (from 1 July 2009, Professor Sir Tom Blundell), a chief executive (Professor Melanie Welham) and from ten to eighteen representatives from UK universities, government and industry. The Council approves policies, strategy, budgets and major funding. On 11 February 2016, the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, announced the appointment of Professor Melanie Welham as interim Chief Executive. Professor Welham was previously Executive Director of Science at BBSRC.
A Research Panel provides expert advice which BBSRC Council draws upon in making decisions. The purpose of the Research Panel is to advise on:
- the development and implementation of the Council's strategic plans
- the competitiveness, relevance, economic impact, and societal considerations of the science and innovation activities funded by BBSRC
- opportunities for partnership with national and international organisations
Boards, panels and committees
In addition to the Council and the Research Panel, BBSRC has a series of other internal bodies for specific purposes.
- Appointments Board
- Audit Board
- Remuneration Board
- Strategy Panels - eight Panels advise and report to the BBSRC Chief Executive
- Research Committees - five Committees award research grants in specific science areas
Institutes of BBSRC
The Council strategically funds eight research institutes in the UK, and a number of centres (BBSRC: Institutes and centres).
The Institutes are tasked with delivering innovative, world class bioscience research and training, leading to wealth and job creation, generating high returns for the UK economy. They have strong links with business, industry and the wider community, and support policy development.
The institutes' research underpins key sectors of the UK economy such as agriculture, bioenergy, biotechnology, food and drink and pharmaceuticals. In addition, the institutes maintain unique research facilities of national importance.
- Babraham Institute (BI) (Cambridge)
- The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) part of Aberystwyth University, (Aberystwyth)
- Institute of Food Research (IFR) (Norwich)
- John Innes Centre (JIC) (Norwich)
- Rothamsted Research (Harpenden and North Wyke)
- Earlham Institute (formerly The Genome Analysis Centre) (Norwich)
- The Pirbright Institute (Pirbright) (Norwich), formerly the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) (Norwich)
- The Roslin Institute (RI), part of the Edinburgh University, (East Lothian)
Other research institutes have merged with each other or with local universities. Previous BBSRC (or AFRC) sponsored institutes include:
- Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER - Aberystwyth), merged with the University of Aberystwyth 2008
- The Roslin Institute (RI - Edinburgh), merged with the University of Edinburgh 2008
- Letcombe Laboratory
- Long Ashton Research Station (LARS - Bristol)
- the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI - Cambridge)
- the Weed Research Organisation (WRO - Oxford)
- Silsoe Research Institute (SRI - Bedfordshire) was closed in 2006.
- BBSRC mission http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/organisation/mission.aspx
- "Our mission and history". BBSRC. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- Tom Blundell (2014). Annual Report and Accounts 2013-2014. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. p. 2.
- "Prof Melanie Welham appointed BBSRC Chief Executive". GOV.UK. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- Babraham Institute
- BBSRC website
- Institute of Food Research
- Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences
- John Innes Centre
- The Pirbright Institute
- Research Councils UK
- Rothamsted Research
- Earlham Institute, formerly The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)
- UK Research Office (UKRO)
- Quadram Institute