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Experience new surroundings with ‘FLIP’

14 June 2012

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is launching a unique people and knowledge exchange programme that offers exciting opportunities for those in the bioscience community to learn and share in a new environment. The new Flexible Interchange Programme (FLIP) will offer individuals and organisations the chance to gain a new perspective on bioscience research by exchanging knowledge with others.

The new programme is designed to increase the movement of people, ideas, technologies, and skills between environments – such as academia and industry or between public and private sector – in order to help develop genuine partnerships and foster long-term collaboration. The resulting interchanges will offer fresh insights to boost the impact of BBSRC-funded research.

Potential FLIP interchanges could include: interchanges between business and academia; movement of individuals between the academic base and policy-making or charitable sectors; or time spent working in a different scientific context.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director Innovation and Skills, said: "Experiencing a new environment offers a wealth of opportunities to grow and develop skills. FLIP will enhance the impact of bioscience research by enabling an individual to develop their skills and to collaborate across sectors, as well as bringing their existing skills and experience to bear on the new environment. This type of interchange not only benefits the research and researcher, it also nurtures partnerships and knowledge-sharing for universities, institutes and industries."

The funding will provide flexible opportunities for individuals to move between different disciplines and sectors at all stages in their career. The programme will enable movement between research organisations, government, business and policy-making organisations, and also support those wishing to embark on a new direction in their research.

Commenting on his own experience of the value of interchange, Professor Rob Beynon from the University of Liverpool said: "It is one thing to interact at arm's length with the industrial sector, but when you spend a period of time embedded in their environment, you not only gain a different understanding of motivation, timeframe and objectives of your industrial partner but also gain an opportunity to examine, discuss and refine your own perspective. My placement not only led to new directions but primed the application for my current fellowship to develop the ideas that were hatched during this period."

FLIP expands on previous people exchange programmes by extending the focus to include professionals working in knowledge exchange, policy development, technology transfer and business development.

Alison Campbell, Chair of PraxisUnico Training, a not-for-profit organisation set up to support innovation and commercialisation of research for social and economic impact, added:"FLIP opens the door for a new type of knowledge exchange. Interchange between the academic base and professional services, such as technology and knowledge transfer offices, can deliver increased benefits and maximise the impact of bioscience research. FLIP will help to bring science out of the lab and into the wider world and vice versa."

The deadline for applications is 20 September 2012. To apply, visit: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/flip

ENDS

About BBSRC

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 £445M (2011-2012), 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.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk.
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes.