Access keys

Skip to content Accessibility Home News, events and publications Site map Search Privacy policy Help Contact us Terms of use

Bioscience impact and innovation competition winners announced

Copyright: BBSRC

The winners of BBSRC’s two innovation and impact competitions were announced at a ceremony last night.

BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2016 is Professor Tom Brown, from the University of Oxford for his for high impact serial entrepreneurship in DNA chemistry and outstanding commitment to innovation.

Copyright: Joel Knight
Professor Tom Brown accepting his award from Professor Nessa Carey and Professor Melanie Welham. Copyright: Joel Knight

Innovator of the Year celebrates individuals and small teams who have harnessed the potential of their excellent research to help address real world challenges.

Professor Brown also won the Commercial Innovator category.

  • Dr Barrie Rooney, University of Kent, was named BBSRC Social Innovator 2016 for engaging multiple groups to address neglected diseases
  • Dr Martin Pule, UCL, was named BBSRC Most Promising Innovator 2016 for frontier innovations in T-cell medicine

Professor Brown, from the University of Oxford, said: “I’m amazingly proud to have been chosen for this award given the remarkable array of innovators who were finalists – I was particularly impressed by the global nature of some of the innovations up for the award. It has been BBSRC’s long term and consistent support which has allowed the science to flourish that has led to my innovation”

BBSRC Excellence with Impact competition was won by the John Innes Centre. The University of Glasgow were runners-up for demonstrating compelling evidence of impressive and sustainable culture change at all levels in the University.

BBSRC Excellence with Impact recognises institutions that have developed and delivered a vision for maximising impact alongside institution wide culture change.

Copyright: Joel Knight
Professor Mike Bevan accepting the Excellence with Impact award on behalf of the John Innes Centre. Copyright: Joel Knight

Professor Mike Bevan, JIC deputy director, said: “This award is a direct consequence of the outstanding research and active engagement of all the scientists and staff across the John Innes Centre. For us, it’s not just enough to be delivering world class science but to do so in a way which has real impact in the UK and around the world”

Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, who attended last night’s event, said: “In the UK we can be very proud of our excellence in bioscience. I am delighted to congratulate the outstanding winners of BBSRC’s impact and innovation competitions. Their determination and imagination demonstrate why the UK continues to punch above its weight in science and research, creating high value jobs across the UK.”

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Chief Executive, said, “Every single one of the participants in both competitions deserve our praise and thanks for having the vision and drive to take research from the lab and make a tangible impact in the world.”

Additionally, the judges awarded special commendations to those Excellence with Impact participants who demonstrated outstanding practice in particular areas:

  • The Genome Analysis Centre for social media engagement
  • Queen Mary University of London was awarded two commendations for schools outreach and PhD internship programmes
  • The Babraham Institute, Royal Veterinary College and The University of Edinburgh were each commended for public dialogue and openness around the use of animals in research
  • Aberystwyth University and IBERS for impact policy around global food security
  • The University of Manchester was awarded two commendations for outreach in collaboration with the Manchester Museum and effective recognition of impact in staff development
  • University of Leeds for the development of impact metrics

Winners of both competitions were selected by independent judging panels.


Notes to editors

Excellence with Impact funding

Award Award value Total (£1M)
Winner (x1) £500,000 £500,000
Runner up (x1) £200,000 £200,000
Finalist (x8) £25,000 £200,000
Commendation (x10) £10,000 £100,000

For more details on the competitions, including a full list of participants, see: Fostering innovation.


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 over £509M in world-class bioscience in 2014-15. 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.


UK Research and Innovation Media Office

Tags: Fostering Innovation Innovator of the Year innovation Excellence with Impact University of Oxford The John Innes Centre news