The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Council (BBSRC) will invest £19 million in TGAC on Norwich Research Park. The investment of £19M which will be used to ensure the TGAC can continue to deploy the latest advanced high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics for the UK bioscience community. The funding will also support the development of new approaches to storing and handling the huge amounts of data these new techniques generate.
The announcement today is part of £250M of strategic investment by BBSRC to ensure the UK’s bioscience research base remains globally competitive. It is for the first phase of five year research programmes.
Commenting on the funding, Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willets, said: “This £250 million investment from BBSRC for the first phase of major five year research programmes will sustain excellent science at some of the UK’s leading institutes and universities. This will drive growth, support highly skilled jobs and keep the UK at the very forefront of bioscience, with benefits ranging from healthcare to energy and global food security.”
“We face an urgent challenge of global sustainable development. Explosive growth of population and emerging economies in the developing world creates urgent problems of food security, public health and clean energy. As the recent Foresight Report warned, we need to double global food production by 2050 with half the land, water and energy. This is driving a massive demand for new technologies in the 3 key 'life sciences' of Biomedicine, Cleantech and Agri-science. Breakthroughs in genetics, synthetic and systems biology and plant breeding techniques are driving a new Green Revolution in which a new generation of crops will allow us to feed the world. The UK's world leading research base in biomedicine is well known, but for too long we have neglected our world-beating Agricultural Research - nowhere stronger than here in Norfolk."
“This is great news for the Norfolk economy - highlighting our potential as a centre of innovation and growth for decades to come. As we have seen in Cambridge, world-class research drives new companies and jobs. With the fast rail, broadband and road links we need, we can build a modern high skilled economy without spoiling Norfolk's special character."
On Norwich Research Park, along with the funding that TGAC has received, £42 million will be invested in research at the John Innes Centre and £29 million at the Institute of Food Research.
The investment will help the UK to meet challenges such as sustainably feeding the growing world population, finding alternatives to dwindling fossil fuels and supporting an ageing society to remain healthy for longer.
The institutes receiving funding have a vital role in supporting BBSRC’s mission to further scientific knowledge to promote economic growth and job creation in important sectors such as food, farming, renewables and pharmaceuticals. The grants will support research, key national scientific infrastructure, knowledge exchange, public engagement and institute development from 2012 until 2017.
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “By almost all measures the UK has the world’s best bioscience research base. BBSRC’s strategic funding of institutes with distinct missions and unique national facilities is one of the reasons we achieve this.
However, being the best doesn’t mean much unless you make a difference in the world. Through their close links with industry and policy makers, and through engaging the public, the institutes are at the forefront of translating fundamental bioscience into products, services and advice.
“This investment is a major commitment to realising the potential of a bio-based economy in the UK. This is only possible through a sustainable, excellent fundamental research base with the right people, skills and facilities.”
For the first time BBSRC’s funding to the institutes has been awarded through a number of distinct strategic programme grants to each institute – and in some cases across institutes and university partners – to support five year research programmes. These have been combined with grants to support vital national research capabilities and with support for knowledge exchange, commercialisation and embedded activities, such as public engagement.
The funding follows an assessment process, including independent peer review, of Institute science and programmes including knowledge exchange, public engagement and strategic HR.
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