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BBSRC Chief Executive shares latest bioscience advancements at the Sixth Annual Biology Week Parliamentary Reception

Copyright: BBSRC

BBSRC supported the sixth annual Biology Week’s Parliamentary Reception, held on 11 October 2017 at the Houses of Parliament, where key stakeholders in the research realm, including Ministers, MPs and Royal Society of Biology members, as well as supporting organisations and volunteers, gathered for an evening to celebrate all things biology.

“Biology Week is an opportunity for us to take time to appreciate the fascination of everything biological and provides inspiration for both present and future generations,” said Melanie Welham, Chief Executive of BBSRC.

Delivering a speech on behalf of BBSRC during Biology Week, Professor Welham enlightened the audience with the latest in bioscience-led advancements that have the potential to address some of the world's greatest challenges:

Copyright: BBSRC
Copyright: BBSRC
  • Plant-produced polio vaccines: Researchers at the John Innes Centre have used plants to produce a new vaccine against poliovirus - a significant step towards global eradication of the disease. This scientific breakthrough represents a clear example of how frontier bioscience continues to make a difference in the world
  • Genome edited pigs: Scientists at The Roslin Institute have used genome editing to produce pigs that are potentially resilient to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome.; a disease costing the swine industry billions each year
  • Hands-Free Hectare: The world’s first hectare of spring barley has been successfully cultivated and harvested using exclusively autonomous vehicles and drones - a collaboration between Harper Adams and Precision Decisions.

Professor Welham also homed in on the newest developments in the food and agriculture sector explaining how big data, robotics, AI, genomics and other technologies are on the cusp of revolutionising how we grow, monitor, harvest, process and trace our food.

“The creation of UK Research and Innovation in April 2018 will facilitate the development of even more effective multi-disciplinary partnerships to tackle the global challenges we face,” said Professor Welham.

The speech concluded with BBSRC’s commitment to support the research community, investing in the best bioscience that pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge, and discovers things that may seem unimaginable, and uses this understanding to address issues faced in the 21st century.

Copyright: BBSRC
Copyright: BBSRC

BBSRC is a major partner for Biology Week, providing funding for special events and projects since the inception of the week in 2012. Joint projects with the Royal Society of Biology in previous years have included school resources and events on food security, parliamentary reception events and a technician careers project.

UK Research and Innovation will be formed in April 2018, bringing together the research councils, Innovate UK and a new body, Research England. The organisation's ambition is to be the best research and innovation agency in the world.

The annual week of special events and activities is organised by the Royal Society of Biology to celebrate the wonder of life and amazing bioscience discoveries. To find out more about events and activities happening near you for Biology Week 2017, visit: Royal Society of Biology: What's on in Biology Week 2017.



BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.

Tags: fundamental bioscience biology research news BBSRC press release