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UKRI-BBSRC Council is responsible for advising and making decisions, as delegated to it by the UK Research and Innovation Board, on scientific, research and innovation matters.

These responsibilities include:

  • The leadership of their discipline area or fields of activity, including the prioritisation of budgets within their delegated remits and the development of delivery plans
  • Ensuring the future of skilled specialists, researchers, scientists and others essential to the sustainability of the UK’s research and innovation capacity
  • Engaging with their community to develop ideas, raise awareness and disseminate strategic outputs
  • Encouraging and facilitating collaborative work across the nine UKRI Councils to foster strategic relationships

Meeting dates and minutes


Professor Ewan Birney

Copyright: The Royal Society

Ewan Birney is Director of EMBL-EBI, and runs a small research group. He played a vital role in annotating the genome sequences of human, mouse, chicken and several other organisms. He led the analysis group for the ENCODE project, which is defining functional elements in the human genome. Ewan’s main areas of research include functional genomics, assembly algorithms, statistical methods to analyse genomic information (in particular information associated with individual differences) and compression of sequence information.

Ewan completed his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin. He has received a number of prestigious awards including the 2003 Francis Crick Award from The Royal Society, the 2005 Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology and the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Open Source Bioinformatics. Ewan was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2014 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

Ewan is a non-executive Director of Genomics England, and is a consultant and advisor to a number of companies, including Oxford Nanopore Technologies and GSK. He is also the Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).

Term: 1 April 2019 until 31 March 2022.

Mr John Bloomer

John has over 30 years’ commercial experience in international research-based agribusiness, 25 years of which were in senior management and leadership roles in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds businesses of ICI, Zeneca and Syngenta.

Since 2012 he has been an independent consultant and adviser within the international agricultural technology industry, bringing his experience in strategy, sales and marketing, R&D, licensing, mergers & acquisitions, creating and managing joint ventures and initiation of public-private partnerships to a wide range of clients around the world.

John has a strong network within the international agricultural research and technology sector and is also a Non Executive Director of Elsoms (Spalding) Ltd (a leading UK seed and plant breeding business) and of Crop Health and Protection Ltd (one of the UK Agri-tech Centres).

John has a Masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, and is a Trustee of a number of charitable organisations.

Term ends: 31 March 2023

Dr Belinda Clarke

Belinda Clarke

Belinda is Director of Agri-TechE, the UK’s largest private sector membership organisation for agri-tech, connecting farmers and growers with researchers, technologists, entrepreneurs and investors to support the economic growth, agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability of the agri-tech value chain.

Prior to her current role, Belinda was Lead Technologist for Biosciences at Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board). In a previous role she was Director of Innovation Ecosystems at ideaSpace at the University of Cambridge, a pre-incubator supporting early stage ventures, and prior to that was Life Sciences Manager for the East of England Development Agency, based at One Nucleus. She has worked as an International Trade Advisor for biotechnology and pharmaceuticals with UK Trade and Investment, and was Science Liaison Manager at the Norwich Research Park, focussed on brokering relationships between academia and industry, and promoting the science of the Park.

Belinda has a first degree in Natural Sciences (part II Plant Sciences) from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in plant biochemistry from the John Innes Centre, UK. She is a Trustee of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, a Nuffield Scholar, Fellow of the Society of Biology, Chartered Biologist, and a qualified business coach.

Term ends: 31 March 2021.

Professor Ian Graham

Ian gained his first degree in Botany and Genetics from Queen’s University Belfast in 1986 and his PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from The University of Edinburgh before doing postdoctoral research at the Universities of Oxford and Stanford. His first faculty position was in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Glasgow in 1993 and he moved to the Chair of Biochemical Genetics in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), University of York in 1999. He was Deputy Director of CNAP from 2003-2008, Director from 2008-2013 and Head of Department of Biology from 2014-2018.

During his career Ian has made significant contributions to our understanding of plant metabolism and seed biology. His most recent research has shed new light on the production of small molecule natural products from plants such as the anti-cancer compound noscapine, morphinan-based analgesics such as codeine and morphine, and the antimalarial drug artemisinin. Funding for his research comes from a range of sources including industry, UK government including BBSRC, EU, UK and overseas charities.

In 2016 Ian was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society (FRS) and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). In 2017 he was awarded the Biochemical Society’s Heatley Medal and Prize for exceptional work in applying advances in biochemistry, particularly in developing practical uses that have created widespread benefits and value for society.

Term ends: 31 March 2021.

Professor Laura Green

Professor Green is an epidemiologist whose research is in endemic diseases of farmed livestock, taking a multidisciplinary approach working with biologists, mathematicians and psychologists to understand disease processes and control and adoption of changes in practice by end users. She has collaborated with scientists and knowledge exchange providers to improve the health and welfare of livestock. She was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society research medal in 2013 and an OBE for services to the health and welfare of farmed livestock in 2017.

She is currently Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of College at the University of Birmingham and an advisor to the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was Chair of the BBSRC Agriculture and Food Strategy panel and a member of the UoA6 panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Term ends: 31 March 2022.

Professor Gideon Henderson

Gideon is a geochemist working to understand the ocean, the carbon cycle, and the long-term operation of the climate system. His research falls into two main areas - making novel measurements on natural archives to quantify climate processes important for future change (such as sea level, rainfall patterns, permafrost stability); and the chemistry of the modern ocean, including study of the carbon cycle, nutrient metals, contaminants, and tracers used to assess ocean processes.

Gideon helped initiate the international programme which has revolutionised knowledge of the chemical cycling of metals in the ocean, and was co-chair of this programme for its first decade. He is a Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences (of which he was Head for 2013-17) at the University of Oxford. He also holds a senior research fellowship at University College Oxford, and an associate position at Columbia University, USA.

Gideon was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013, now serves on the Royal Society Science Policy Committee, and has contributed to recent policy work in subjects including ocean resources and greenhouse gas removal.

Professor Martin Humphries

Martin Humphries is Professor of Biochemistry at The University of Manchester. He carried out postdoctoral research at the Howard University Cancer Center, Washington, D.C., USA and at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. In 1988, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship to return to Manchester. In 1995, he progressed to a Principal Research Fellowship and co-founded the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, which he directed from 2000-2009. From 2008-2016, he was Vice-President & Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences. Professor Humphries is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and The Royal Society of Biology, and a member of Academia Europaea. He has served as Chair of the Biochemical Society and Vice-President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The long-term aim of the research conducted in his laboratory is to elucidate the mechanisms by which adhesion controls cell behaviour. A current focus is the ternary connection between extracellular matrix rigidity, signals transduced by adhesion receptor-associated complexes and cell cycle progression.

Term ends: 31 March 2022.

Professor Andrew Millar

Andrew Millar is an interdisciplinary biologist with a longstanding interest in 24-hour biological rhythms and over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Andrew was elected an EMBO member, FRS and FRSE in 2010-2013 for his research on the biological clock in plants, which integrates experimental genetics and molecular biology, plant physiology, ‘omics, mathematical modelling and computer science. Andrew grew up in Luxembourg and studied Genetics at the University of Cambridge, followed by a Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Genetics at The Rockefeller University, New York. After postdoctoral research at the NSF Center for Biological Timing in Virginia, he joined The University of Warwick. Growing interest in systems and synthetic biology contributed to a move to The University of Edinburgh in 2005, where he co-founded and directed the SynthSys research centre (2007-2012). His past roles include serving as Director of Systems Biology for the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (2007-2009), and P.I. for GARNet (2004-2009), which represents roughly 200 laboratories of the UK‘s Arabidopsis research community. He currently serves as Director of Research for Biological Sciences at The University of Edinburgh, and his interests include research data management and macro-economic impacts on science. He is also on the Board of Directors for James Hutton Institute.

Term ends: 31 March 2021.

Professor Malcolm Skingle

Malcolm has BSc in Pharmacology/Biochemistry and a PhD in Neuropharmacology. He has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years and gained a wide breadth of experience in management of research activities. Part of his former role as a research leader in a Neuropharmacology department involved co-supervising collaborations with academics in the UK, Europe and USA. He has over 60 publications including articles on the interface between industry and academia.

He coordinates Academic Liaison at GSK, managing staff in the US and UK. His role involves close liaison with several groups outside the Company for example government departments, research and funding councils, biotechnology companies and other science-driven organisations. He sits on many external bodies including the HEFCE REF Main Panel A and the BPS Council. He also chairs several groups including the Diamond (Synchrotron) Industrial Advisory Board, the Science Industry Partnership for apprenticeships and the ABPI group working on academic liaison.

Malcolm was awarded a CBE in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry as well as an Honorary Professorship from the University of Birmingham and an honorary DSc from the University of Hertfordshire. Malcolm was elected as a Fellow into the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London in 2011.

Term ends: 31 March 2022.

Professor David Stephens

David is Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Bristol. Following postdoctoral work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, in 2001 he moved to the University of Bristol as an MRC Non-Clinical Research Fellow and was appointed to his current role in 2010. David has had held key leadership roles within the University of Bristol including as Research Director for the School of Biochemistry and as Chair of the Steering Group for the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility. With BBSRC, David has worked on several peer review and advisory panels, including as Chair of Research Committee D and as a member of Research Advisory Panel. Additional roles have included serving on committees of both the British Society for Cell Biology and Royal Microscopical Society as well as editorial work for several journals. His own research in Bristol is centred on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cell organisation and function, notably using advanced microscopy methods to probe membrane and cytoskeleton dynamics. David’s work includes multidisciplinary approaches integrating chemistry, physics, and mathematics with biology, as well as close collaboration with clinical colleagues to understand how these normal cellular functions fail in disease.

Term ends: 31 March 2020.

Meeting dates and minutes


  • 16 March
  • 15 June
  • 14 September
  • 14 December


  • 9 March
  • 16 June
  • 2 September
  • 7 December