Press release

Reappointment of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Chair

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts announces the reappointment of Professor Sir Tom Blundell as the chair of the (BBSRC)

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts today announced the reappointment of Professor Sir Tom Blundell as the chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

David Willetts said:

I am delighted that Sir Tom Blundell has agreed to remain as chair of BBSRC. His extensive academic experience in the field of biochemistry coupled with his active role in science policy makes him an invaluable asset to the council.

Professor Sir Tom Blundell said:

I am delighted to continue my involvement with BBSRC. I am proud of the achievements we have seen in recent years and look forward to seeing further advances that will help us meet some of the grand challenges we face, such as feeding a growing population, living longer healthy lives and finding alternative energy sources.

The reappointment is for two years from 1 July 2013 until 30 June 2015.

Notes for editors

1.This reappointment has been made in accordance with the requirements of the Code of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

2.Sir Tom’s first term as BBSRC Chair began on 01 July 2009 and runs to 30 June 2013. His remuneration for this position is £16,430 for on average 24 days per annum. He does not hold any other public appointments.

3.All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the Nolan recommendations there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity to be made public. Sir Tom has not been involved in any relevant political activities in the last five years.

4.Sir Tom is Professor Emeritus and Director of Research in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. He was previously Head of the School of Biological Sciences in Cambridge and Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry. His research is focused on structural biology of cell regulation, structural bioinformatics and applications to drug discovery and medicine. He has previously held research and teaching positions in Oxford, Sussex and London universities. He is a member of Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. He has Honorary Doctorates from fifteen universities.

5.Sir Tom has played an active role in national science policy. In the 1980s, he was a member of the advisory group to the Prime Minister (ACOST). He was Director General, Agricultural and Food Research Council (1991 to 1994) and founding Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, BBSRC (1994 to 1996), Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1998 to 2005), President of the UK Biosciences Federation (2004 to 2008) and President of UK Science Council, 2011.

6.Sir Tom was a Non-Executive Director of Celltech from 1996 to 2005 and has been involved in science advisory roles with Pfizer, UCB and SmithKlyneBeecham. He co-founded Astex Therapeutics which has oncology drugs in clinical trials in USA and UK.

7.BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Its 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 £500M (2012-2013), BBSRC supports research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people it funds are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Its investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. For more information about BBSRC, its science and its impact see www.bbsrc.ac.uk. For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes.

8.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

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