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Mission and history


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.

To advance knowledge and technology (including the promotion and support of the exploitation of research outcomes), and provide trained scientists and engineers, which meet the needs of users and beneficiaries (including the agriculture, bioprocessing, chemical, food, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other biotechnological related industries), thereby contributing to the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom and the quality of life.

In relation to the Council's activities, and as the Council may see fit, to:

  • generate public awareness
  • communicate research outcomes
  • encourage public engagement and dialogue
  • disseminate knowledge.


Research councils were reorganised following the 1993 government white paper "Realising our Potential".

BBSRC was established by Royal Charter in 1994 by incorporation of the former Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) with the biotechnology and biological sciences programmes of the former Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC). BBSRC is a non-departmental public body.

In April 2018 BBSRC became part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

Chairs and Chief Executives

Chair Chief Executive
Sir Alistair Grant (1994-1998) Professor (now Sir) Tom Blundell FRS (1994 -1996)
Dr Peter Doyle CBE (1998-2003) Professor Ray Baker CBE (1996-2002)
Dr Peter Ringrose (2003-2009) Professor (now Dame) Julia Goodfellow CBE (2002-2007)
Mr Steve Visscher CBE (2007-2008)
Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS (2009-2015) Professor Douglas Kell (2008-2013)
Professor Sir Gordon Duff (2015-present) Professor Jackie Hunter (2013-2016)
Professor Melanie Welham (2016-2018)

Chairs and Executive Chairs

Chair Executive Chair
Professor Sir Gordon Duff (2015-present) Professor Melanie Welham (2018-present)