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BBSRC announces new make-up of its Council

6 May 2008

The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham, has appointed five new members to the council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The new members are:

  • Professor John Coggins FRSE
  • Dr David Lawrence
  • Professor Christopher Pollock CBE
  • Dr Andrew Richards
  • Dr John Stageman OBE

Three current members of BBSRC Council have been re-appointed:

  • Professor Quintin McKellar, Principal of The Royal Veterinary College (appointed until 31 March 2011)
  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell FRS, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester (appointed until 31 December 2008)
  • Professor Malcolm Weir, Chief Executive Officer, Heptares Therapeutics Ltd (appointed until 31 March 2011)

The new members with effect from 1 April 2008 are:

Professor John Coggins
Professor Coggins is Vice Principal for the Life Sciences, Medicine & Veterinary Medicine at Glasgow University. He is an international authority on the enzymology of shikimic acid biosynthesis, where his research has been characterised by its multidisciplinary approach through structural biology, bioinformatics and genomics/proteomics.

Professor Coggins's research has underpinned major industrial innovation and commercial R&D in areas including herbicides, pharmaceuticals and translational medicine. He has been a leader nationally in encouraging and equipping researchers to engage with the public and to realise the potential economic and social benefits of their science.

Dr David Lawrence
Dr Lawrence is Head of R&D at Syngenta AG, and a member of the company’s Executive Committee (Board). He directly manages over 2000 people in the UK and countries across the world.

Dr Lawrence has over 20 years of experience as a senior manager of research in commercial plant, agrochemicals and biotech science, which builds on his applied research career in the chemistry of plant growth regulation. He has also served on several BBSRC grant committees ands university advisory bodies.

Professor Christopher (Chris) Pollock
Professor Pollock is science adviser to the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government. He was Director of the Institute of Grassland and Environment Research from 1993 until retiring in 2007.

In addition to his basic plant research, Professor Pollock has fostered academic-user links with the land based sector; he is an occasional consultant for Agri-Industry Consortium. Professor Pollock has served on policy, strategy and regulatory committees for Research Councils, Government Departments and the Devolved Administrations. He chaired BBSRC’s review of Sustainable Agriculture (2002); and the scientific committee of the DETR Farm-Scale Trials (1999-2004). He currently chairs the Advisory Committee for Releases into the Environment.

Dr Andrew (Andy) Richards
Dr Richards trained in chemistry. His whole career has been in developing and commercialising technology in the life sciences, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Following positions with ICI, PA Consulting Group and Chiroscience plc, he has since 1999 focused on founding and developing private companies – having been involved in starting up 1-2 companies a year since 2000.

Dr Richards is a Director of Babraham Bioscience Technologies, the commercial arm of the Babraham Institute. He was formerly a member of the Council of the University of East Anglia.

Dr John Stageman
Dr Stageman is Vice President and General Manager of MedImmune, Cambridge. Since graduating in the mid 1970s, Dr Stageman's career has been within chemical- and life sciences-based industry, including areas of colloid science and bioproducts where he contributed to the development of the well known mycoprotein product, Quorn, and the biodegradable polyester, Biopol. Dr Stageman also has experience of leading global drug development teams and areas such as drug formulation, delivery and pharmacogenetics. In the past decade this has extended to leadership in biopharmaceuticals.

Commenting on the new appointments, BBSRC Chairman Dr Peter Ringrose said: "I am delighted that BBSRC will be able to benefit from the wealth of experience these individuals bring across the academic, industrial R&D and business sectors. They are eminently qualified to help us address the challenges we face to maintain the UK’s world lead in bioscience against increasingly strong global competition. I am certain that they will command the confidence and support of the UK bioscience community across academia and industry, as well as our stakeholders in policymaking, business and the wider public.

"I am also very pleased that Professors McKellar, Rothwell and Weir will continue their valuable work on the Council for an additional term. Together, they, the other current members and the new appointees make a powerful and highly talented team that I look forward to leading in the coming months."


Notes to editors

BBSRC Council is the senior decision making body responsible for determining the policy, priorities and strategy of BBSRC. BBSRC Council members receive an honorarium of £6,570pa. Council members who also chair committees receive a higher honorarium of £8,750pa.

Appointments are made in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice.

Appointees are required to declare any political activity as part of the application and appointment process.

Details of Council Members’ interests are available on the BBSRC website.


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

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Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

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