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New Council members appointed for BBSRC

5 April 2011

The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has appointed three new members to the Council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Council is BBSRC's highest decision making body and determines policy, priorities and strategy.

The three new members of Council are Professor Russell Foster FRS, Dr Michael Goosey and Dr Will West. Each appointment is effective from 1 April 2011 and for a period of four years.

Prof Russell Foster FRS

Prof Russell Foster FRS

Professor Sir Tom Blundell, BBSRC Chairman, said: "I am pleased to be able to welcome the new members to BBSRC Council. Collectively they bring an excellent mix of academic and industry expertise and a broad understanding of key BBSRC strategic areas in fundamental bioscience and applications to industry underpinning health and bioenergy. BBSRC has a vital role in maintaining the UK's world-leading position in the biosciences and I look forward to the contributions Prof Foster and Drs Goosey and West will be able to make to discussions at Council."

Prof Russell Foster FRS

Prof Russell Foster is Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and Head of Department of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Prof Foster's research interests focus on the role of the biological mechanisms that both regulate and generate circadian rhythms and sleep. His work has important implications for understanding the relationship between health and sleep/circadian rhythm disruption.

Dr Michael Goosey

Dr Michael Goosey

Prof Foster has significant experience of working with BBSRC, having served on a number of the Council's committees and boards over the last decade. These have included periods as chair of the BBSRC Animal Sciences Committee, The Healthy Organism Strategy Panel and as a member of Strategy Advisory Board.

Prof Foster has a strong commitment to communication and public engagement; he has published two popular science books on biological rhythms (The Rhythms of Life and The Seasons of Life) and is the new Chair of the Cheltenham Science Festival.

Dr Michael Goosey

Dr Michael Goosey FRSC recently retired from a senior role with Shell, following a long career in industrial research and development, with specific responsibility for Shell's research interests in bioenergy and industrial biotechnology.

Dr Goosey has significant and extensive experience in fostering and maintaining strong relationships between the research base and industry in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Dr Will West

Dr Will West

Dr Goosey has previously been involved in a number of UK Government and BBSRC initiatives around industrial biotechnology and bioenergy. These have included the BIS Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Leadership Team and the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre.

Dr Will West

Dr Will West is Chief Executive of CellCentric Ltd and Chairman of the BioIndustry Association's Emerging Companies Network.

CellCentric, based in Cambridge, is a biotechnology company focused on new drug discovery for epigenetic targets. The company has strong links with academia, including collaborations with BBSRC researchers and with the Babraham Institute.

Dr West has a strong track record in national skills policy development. He was involved the SEMTA sector skills committee and was part of the team behind the 2009 Bioscience Innovation and Growth Team (BIGT) Refresh and Review that made recommendations that have since been adopted by Government.

The new appointments to Council replace two retiring members and fill one vacancy. The retiring members are Dr Malcolm Weir and Prof Quintin McKellar.


Notes to editors

BBSRC Council is the senior decision making body responsible for determining the policy, priorities and strategy of BBSRC. Appointments are made in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees political activity (if any declared) to be made public.

None of the appointees has declared any political activity.

None of the appointees hold any other ministerial public appointments.

Eligible members of Council receive an honorarium of £6,850 per year. Eligible members who also Chair committees, receive £9,110 per year. The honorarium is paid in respect of all duties carried out during their appointment to Council, which is expected to amount to approximately 25 days per year.

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


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.