£125m Boost For Bioscience Research

Postgraduate students of bioscience are to benefit from a £125 million funding boost to be announced today.

The money will support 1,250 PhD students working in the fields of agriculture, food security, industrial biotechnology, bioenergy and health.

Business Secretary Vince Cable is due to announce the investment on a visit to the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

The institution is one of 12 lead organisations throughout the UK that have been allocated a share of the cash over five years.

Mr Cable said: "The UK punches far beyond its weight in science and innovation globally, which is a credit to our talented scientists and first-class universities.

"This new funding will safeguard Britain's status as a world leader in life sciences and agricultural technology.''

The investment has been made by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Research students will work on addressing some of the major issues of the 21st century such as sustainable food production, renewable energy sources and the health challenges of an ageing population.

Executive director of innovation and skills Dr Celia Caulcott said: "Bioscience is having a massive impact on many aspects of our lives.

"BBSRC is paving the way for an explosion in new economic sectors and bioscience that will change the way we live our lives in the 21st century.

"To achieve this we need to maintain our leading position in global bioscience by ensuring that the next generation of scientists have the best training and skills.

"The next generation of bioscientists are our future and we must invest in them now.''

The University of Edinburgh will receive £7.5 million of funding, which will be matched by £7 million from the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews, which together make up the East of Scotland Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (Eastbio).

Professor David Gray, head of the school of biological sciences at the University of Edinburgh, said: "The University of Edinburgh's world-leading position in the biosciences is underpinned by strategic commercial partnerships, maximising the impact from our research.  

"This renewed investment in Eastbio will enable us to continue training the research leaders of the future and secure Scotland's place as a driver of international innovation.''

The University of Cambridge and its partner organisations will receive £15 million from BBSRC as will University College London.

The University of Warwick will benefit from £13 million of funding while the universities of Oxford and Nottingham and the John Innes Centre in Norwich have been awarded £12.5 million each.  

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