BBSRC Delivery Plan published: Response to Science Budget allocation

3rd Jan 2011

Message from BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Douglas Kell

BBSRC has published its Delivery Plan 2011-2015. It outlines BBSRC priorities, plans and spending commitments, based around the Science and Research budget allocation to BBSRC announced by BIS on 20 December. The Delivery Plan is available at: Delivery Plan

Given the current pressure on public finances in the UK, the allocation is an excellent outcome for bioscience. I believe that our allocation of almost £1.5Bn over the next four years reflects the government’s recognition of the role of bioscience in tackling major challenges, such as food security and sustainable technologies, and in driving economic recovery in the new knowledge based bio-economy.

The allocation represents a small, 3% fall in our programme budget to £351M in 2014/15 compared to our baseline of £362M in 2010/11. As with other Research Councils our capital budget has had to reduce significantly, in BBSRC’s case from a baseline of £60M in 2010/11 to £30M in 2014/15. We will need to make further efficiency savings, and to work with the research community to ensure that we extract maximum value from our investments. I remain confident that we will be able to maintain the UK’s world-class research base in bioscience.

In particular we will be focusing on our priority science areas of Global Food Security, Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, and Bioscience Underpinning Health and Wellbeing. For example, we will position the UK as a leader in wheat research and breeding, drive advances in enzymology, biocatalysis and sustainable bioenergy to create growth and green jobs and prepare for an ageing population and to maintain wellbeing through improved understanding of the basic biological mechanisms underlying healthy physiology.

We will develop more effective synergies and partnerships, not just in research but also in knowledge exchange and commercialisation and training. For example, we will forge partnerships with universities with strengths in our strategic priority areas, work with the BBSRC Institutes to develop innovation campuses and with industry on programmes such as Advanced Training Partnerships to provide a supply of PhD trained scientists with industry-relevant skills in innovation and R&D.

BBSRC will also continue to contribute to cross-Research Council and cross-funder research programmes, including our central role in Global Food Security as well as Living with Environmental Change, Lifelong Health and Wellbeing and the Energy Programme.

I am pleased that the redevelopment of the Pirbright Laboratory of BBSRC’s Institute for Animal Health is proceeding with a further £37M of funding already announced from the Large Facilities Capital Fund (LFCF). The reduction in our other capital funding will be particularly challenging. To help address this reduction in capital we will widen access to key national facilities and infrastructure, and we remain committed to investment in new tools and techniques to underpin modern bioscience which we see as key to delivering our priority science areas.

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