Pirbright Partners with Others to Train Bioscientists of the Future

UK - £18.5 million will be invested in training the next generation of bioscience leaders to tackle global challenges such as food security and animal health.
calendar icon 8 October 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

The funding forms part of £125M worth of investment announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable for the next generation of scientists to drive the economy of the future.

The Pirbright Institute is one of a small group of scientific research organisations to have been awarded £12.5 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

This funding, combined with more than £6 million provided by the research Institutes, universities and colleges involved in the partnership, will support up to 180 doctoral students over the next five years.

The funding has been awarded as part of a national five-year investment of £125 million from BBSRC who recognise that our future depends on a new generation of scientists trained to help tackle major challenges, such as the growing demand for food.

Investing in bioscience research now, and supporting capabilities and skills, will enable to the UK to reap huge social and economic benefits in the future.

Excellent and highly skilled researchers are vital to achieving this, fuelling new discoveries. By investing in the skills base, BBSRC not only supports research but also helps to secure the nation's future, driving inward investment, creating new jobs and maintaining the UK's position as a global leader.

The funding announcement was made by Business Secretary Vince Cable on 3 October 2014 at an event held at The Roslin Institute in Edinburgh.

Business Secretary Vince 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 Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP offers students a four-year DPhil programme where they will work on fundamental bioscience of relevance to problems spanning the biological sciences such as: developing new vaccines for animal diseases, improving crop yields, and tissue engineering for regenerative medicine.

Dr Gail Preston, Programme Director of the DTP at the University of Oxford, said: “We aim to create an environment in which students are exposed to a wide variety of different disciplines, technologies and approaches across bioscience.

"Through our DTP partners, students will have access to cutting-edge facilities at Pirbright, Oxford and the Harwell campus to investigate bioscience solutions not just at the level of animals and plants but also at the scale of single cells and molecules.

"Students will be able to draw on expertise across the partnership to tackle important challenges such as the control of viral diseases of farm animals and of viruses that spread from animals to humans.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Executive Director, Innovation and Skills: '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.'

Partners in the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP include the University of Oxford, Diamond Light Source, STFC Central Laser Facility, ISIS Neutron Source, The Research Complex at Harwell, and Oxford Brookes University.

Charlotte Rowney

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