A total investment of £14.5 million will train postgraduate students in world-class bioscience that will build on UK strengths in areas such as agriculture, food security, industrial biotechnology, bioenergy and bioscience for health.
Dr Cable made the announcement (part of a £125 million UK-wide investment in UK bioscience student training) as he visited the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, where he met researchers and students.
The investment in the bioscience skills base will further boost research and innovation in Scotland and will help to secure the future of the UK as a global leader in bioscience research.
Highly skilled researchers are vital for addressing some of the world’s major challenges in the 21st century. They fuel discoveries aimed at solving issues such as sustainable food production, renewable energy sources and addressing the health challenges of an aging population.
A £7.5 million investment from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council will be matched by £7 million funding committed by the Universities involved in the East of Scotland Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (EASTBIO).
EASTBIO is a partnership between the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews. EASTBIO is led by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences and includes as associate partners the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), James Hutton Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
Postgraduate students at Scottish Universities are already making huge impacts in the biosciences. They are discovering natural products that will reduce the use of antibiotics in the food chain, inventing novel crop protection strategies, developing new coatings for medical devices to repel infection-causing bacteria and exploring new approaches to study neurodegenerative diseases outside of the human brain.
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.”
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.”
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Source: The Roslin Institute