Nottingham scientists recognised for contribution to UK economy

03 Jun 2008 00:00:00.000

Scientists from the University of Nottingham have been highlighted as being among the leading bioscience research groups contributing to the UK's economic and social wellbeing.

At a recent event at HM Treasury, run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a wide range of research and innovation at the University was highlighted for its economic and social impact.

The event, 'Bioscience:Biomillions', illustrated how the UK's excellent bioscience research base, principally funded by BBSRC with over £400M of public money each year, is delivering substantial economic and social impact.

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Among the experts recognised for conducting fundamental research that has been successfully used for the benefit of society and industry were:

Professor Don Grierson, Professor of Plant Physiology, in the School of Biosciences, identified genes that influence important qualities in fruits and pioneered gene silencing techniques to manipulate those involved in ripening. His work has provided opportunities for growers to develop plant varieties that produce fruit with longer shelf life and better eating quality for consumers.

Professor Kevin Shakesheff Professor of Tissue Engineering in the School of Pharmacy and Director of The University of Nottingham's new £25m Centre for Biomolecular Sciences carried out research into scaffolding technologies to aid the regeneration of tissues and organs which led to the founding of the spin-out company RegenTec. The company is now developing a range of scientific and clinical products.

Professor Andy Taylor, Professor of Flavour Technology in the School of Biosciences, works on understanding the process of flavour release in food. His research has led to the food industry reformulating health foods to improve flavours and the founding of a spin-out company, Flavometrix.

Professor Katherine Smart is the UK's only female Professor of Brewing. Her research includes the study of bioethanol fermentation from straw.

Participants in the event included researchers from Nottingham and other bioscientists being highlighted for their contributions, dignitaries including Ian Pearson MP, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation, industry leaders, policy makers and leading academics.

Other high impact bioscience research on show included work to understand and defeat hospital superbugs, research to understand ageing and to develop ways to encourage healthier ageing, and research to help farmers increase crop yields and to cope with a changing climate.

Mr Pearson said: "Bioscience researchers in the UK have not only pursued excellent, world-class research, but they have also been active in ensuring that we all benefit from their efforts.

"In order to remain globally competitive and meet the future challenges of living within our environmental and population limits, it is vital that bioscience researchers continue to maximise the positive economic and social impacts of their research and activities."

Steve Visscher, BBSRC Interim Chief Executive, said: "The UK's world class bioscience research base underpins major economic and social sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food, healthcare and the environment. Our researchers are amongst the best in the world in terms of the quality of their science but they are also making huge contributions to quality of life for people through economic and social impact."

Full details of 'Bioscience:Biomillions', including a complete list of all the bioscientists highlighted for their economic and social impact is available at: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/publications/corporate/bioscience_biomillions.html

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Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.

Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation "€” School of Pharmacy).

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

Additional information: The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £420M 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. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

Story credits


More information is available from Matt Goode at the BBSRC on +44 (0)1793 413299 , matt.goode@bbsrc.ac.u

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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