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BBSRC publishes updated Strategic Plan

12 April 2006

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has today published its updated strategic plan 2003-2008, outlining progress against its objectives and updates in light of the 2004 spending review.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “The majority of BBSRC’s strategic plan from 2003 remains as relevant now as it was then. However, s hort term goals have been achieved and we are also keen to ensure that we are seizing new scientific opportunities. The 2004 spending review established BBSRC’s budget until march 2008, by which time our total budget will increase to over £380M per annum. We have made clear in our delivery plans where our funding priorities lie, including increases in responsive mode funding, further funding for systems biology and the start of funding stream for tools and resources.”

Achievements since the first edition of the Strategic Plan 2003-2008 include:

  • Progress towards the vision of more multidisciplinary quantitative and predictive research in the biosciences in the form of £55M of funding for systems biology centres
  • The completion of a £19M initiative in bioinformatics and e-science to support the development of new computational, mathematical and statistical methods to enable rapid advances in biological understanding
  • An increase in the number of studentships funded through Doctoral Training Accounts, which promotes interdisciplinarity by giving institutions the flexibility to fund studentship in partnerships with other Research Councils or funders
  • The promotion of multidisciplinary research by opening up responsive mode funding to institutes and units of the Wellcome Trust, MRC and NERC, and to allow BBSRC-sponsored institutes to apply for funding from these organisations
  • The establishment of seven strategy panels to advise the Council on areas including the needs of industrial stakeholders and knowledge transfer, science in society and training, as well as future scientific strategy

Significant new and ambitious objectives have been set by the Council, including:

  • The Improved coordination of sustainable agriculture research across BBSRC-sponsored institutes, the university sector and with Government Departments, including Defra, SEERAD and DFID
  • Developing the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club, which brings together around 20 companies that will fund industrially relevant research in partnership with BBSRC and EPSRC
  • Building UK research capacity in integrative mammalian biology
  • Continuing to work with other Research Councils, through the Research Councils UK partnership, to increase the collective voice and influence of the Research Councils
  • Tackling the technological bottlenecks faced by research knowledge providers by supporting technology development in a range of bioscience-led areas, e.g. RNAi tools, novel bioimaging and new tools to study multiprotein complexes
  • Continuing to deliver efficient administration, including £37M of efficiency savings by 2007/08 as part of the Research Councils’ contribution to the Gershon efficiency targets

Professor Goodfellow commented: “The updating of the Strategic Plan ensures that BBSRC is meeting its overall aim of supporting and enhancing the world-class bioscience community in the UK. It is from this excellent science that we can create economic and social benefit for the nation.”



The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299