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Publication of the Strategic Review of Bioimaging in the UK

Copyright: Pippa Hawes/The Pirbright Institute

The report of a strategic review of bioimaging in the UK is published today and will help stakeholders understand the key priorities within BBSRC’s bioimaging portfolio and will inform BBSRC’s strategy in this area.

Imaging is now the dominant form of analysis of molecules, cells, and tissues across the life sciences. Imaging of biological samples, or bioimaging, is an area of significant interest for BBSRC as bioimaging technologies cut across all areas of BBSRC’s remit, and operates at all scales.

The UK bioimaging landscape has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. Taking into account the scientific drivers, technological breakthroughs, substantial investments made and recent community mobilisation, as well as the changing European context, it was considered timely to conduct a strategic review of bioimaging to serve as an evaluation of BBSRC’s current and future approaches to support for bioimaging in the UK.

The review was informed by BBSRC’s expert advisory panels and a dedicated Expert Review Group, comprising representatives from academia and industry; spanning a broad range of disciplinary expertise and career stages.

BBSRC Executive Chair, Professor Melanie Welham, said: “BBSRC recognises that bioimaging is an area of high strategic importance across the life sciences, and its application continues to grow as imaging technologies become ever more sophisticated.”

Professor Michelle Peckham, President of the Royal Microscopical Society says, “The Strategic Review of Bioimaging just released by BBSRC is an insightful and in depth overview of the current state of imaging technologies in the UK, addressing how bioimaging is an essential driver for new discoveries, and underpins world class bioscience.”

Professor Jason Swedlow, lead for the BioimagingUK network, noted “Bioimaging has undergone a revolution in the last few years, with new technologies at all levels - including probes, detectors, light paths, analytics and many others - that combine to truly reveal what couldn’t be seen before. This strategic review is the result of a national survey and year-long community consultation. It defines the priorities for imaging technology, staff expertise, and data resources for the next several years.”

Strategic review of bioimaging (PDF 2.95MB)

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Editor’s note

The information for the strategic review of bioimaging was collected before UK Research and Innovation as an organisation came into effect in April 2018. Any reference in the document towards Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was made while these legacy organisations were still in operation, and the references were retained to best reflect the stakeholder view at the time of data collection.

Any future steps to address the recommendations emerging from the review will fall under the responsibility of the new umbrella organisation UK Research and Innovation, including Research England.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

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

Tags: bioimaging review news research technology strategic