UK bioscience has received a major boost following the announcement of 16 new fellowships by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) including the first ever Diamond Fellowship, so named because the post will be based at the new Research Complex at Harwell, adjacent to the Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire - the UK national synchrotron facility.
Professor So Iwata, from Imperial College London, becomes the first ever Diamond Fellow. He will use the high quality x-rays produced by the Diamond Light Source to study the structure of human cell membrane transporters to provide a basic understanding of life at the molecular level and help advances in medicine and pharmacology.
Up to 1.7 Million has been awarded to each of the 16 new Fellows from across the bioscience field, who range from some of the UK's most promising early career researchers through to internationally renowned scientists.
Speaking about the newly awarded Fellowships, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson, said: "The UK is already a world leader in biosciences research. These fellowships from BBSRC will help us maintain our lead and give some of our most outstanding bioscientists an extra boost.
"It is vital that we nurture scientists throughout their careers, as they will be essential to helping us tackle the major challenges we face."
The Fellowships, lasting from three to five years, allow researchers to concentrate exclusively on conducting world-class research to tackle serious scientific questions. The 2009 BBSRC Fellows will be tackling bioscience issues including increasing crop yields, accelerated therapeutic drug development and better understanding of the natural world.
The 16 new Fellowships include:
Dr Celia Caulcott, Director, Innovation and Skills for BBSRC, said: "We are excited to be awarding these Fellowships which give scientists the freedom to submerge themselves in their science and offer an opportunity to learn new skills and develop innovative ideas without being distracted by funding worries. Awards such as these help build a robust research base, placing UK scientists as world leaders and ultimately benefiting society as a whole."
|Contact: Tracey Jewitt|
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council