The Government has today launched its UK Agricultural Technology Strategy, looking to make the UK a world leader in science and technology development for agriculture.
Welcoming the Strategy, BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Douglas Kell, said: "The UK has the best plant, crop and animal science research sectors in the world. We are the country behind Dolly the Sheep, the discovery of transgenic techniques and advanced harvesting technology. BBSRC investment over decades has put the UK in this position.
"We are now looking forward to supporting the implementation of this Strategy through working with our research community, our partners in research and the private sector in helping accelerate the translation of the world-class bioscience we fund out of the lab, into farmers' fields and onto consumers' plates.
BBSRC is the biggest public funder of academic research and training in the non-clinical life sciences and the largest single public funder of agriculture and food-related research, investing over £192M in research and capital (£101M and £92M, respectively) relating to food security last year, of which £90M was specifically for research in the agri-tech sector.
Professor Kell continued: "This Strategy clearly highlights that the Government recognises the potential of agriculture as a business sector to support economic growth, job creation and support global food security.
BBSRC will continue to invest in world-leading researchers, universities and institutes to ensure the UK has the skills and capabilities to drive advances in bioscience which are essential if we are to fulfil the aims of this new Strategy and find sustainable solutions to tackle the major global challenges facing us all."
While launching the Strategy, Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts also announced £30M of investment from BBSRC for the development of four research and innovation campuses where unique facilities and world-leading agri-science can be accessed by private enterprise.
The Minister was speaking at East Malling Research, part of a consortium which recently received £800,000 from BBSRC to fund research into disease resistance in strawberries; with a further £1M funded by industry.
Notes to editors
For a copy of the Agricultural Technologies Strategy contact the BIS press office. From Monday it will be available online at: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills/series/industrial-strategy-government-and-industry-in-partnership
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, and with an annual budget of around £467M (2012-2013), 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.