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BBSRC welcomes report of Follett Review on Institute Governance

24 October 2006

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has welcomed the report on governance of BBSRC-sponsored institutes by an independent review committee chaired by Sir Brian Follett FRS.

The report sets out options identified by the committee to address the inherent tension between the levels of responsibility and risk currently held by BBSRC, and the independent status of the institutes as companies limited by guarantee and registered charities, that exists under current arrangements.
The report outlines potential benefits and drawbacks of four options for BBSRC Council’s consideration. This review was not intended to make specific recommendations for each institute. However, they note that there may not be one solution which fits the current circumstances of all seven sponsored institutes. The report indicates that the committee believes that the status quo should not continue.

BBSRC Council discussed the report at its October meeting and Council have endorsed three options for further consideration by each Institute Governing Body. Council agreed with the committee that the status quo should not be considered further. Discussions will take place at the December and February Council meetings about specific options for each Institute. For these discussions, BBSRC has requested input from the Governing Body Chairs and the trades unions in order to inform the debate.    

The report builds on previous reviews of Institute Governance, including Mr Gavin Costigan’s Review for the Office of Science and Innovation of the Governance Issues affecting all Research Council Institutes in 2005 and the 1996 Prior Options Review which endorsed the current arrangements.



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

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382