Manchester scientists highlighted for contribution to UK economy - MIDAS

Manchester scientists highlighted for contribution to UK economy

4 June, 2008 – Manchester scientists highlighted for contribution to UK economy

Scientists from both the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University have been recognised as being among the leading bioscience researh groups contributing to the UK's social and economic wellbeing.

At a recent event at HM Treasury, run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a wide range of research and innovation form the two Manchester Universities was highlighted for its economic and social impact:

Prof Sabine Flitsch, University of Manchester, is researching the relatively unexplored medical field of glycotherapeutics. She has developed a screening technology that can help understand the role of carbohydrate-protein interactions in health and disease and this has potential for diverse applications, including cancer, infectious disease and inflammation.

Prof Doug Kell’s research at the University of Manchester underpins applications in the brewing, biotechnology and fermentation industries. Prof Kell founded Aber Instruments which produces patented biomass probes to monitor the levels of microorganisms in the harsh production environments found in these sectors.

Manchester Metropolitan’s Dr Gladys Pearson’s research into reversing the ageing process in older people’s muscles helps them to stay mobile and independent for longer, reducing the UK’s over £1bn a year cost of falls.

The University of Manchester Incubator Company (UMIC) has successfully overseen the establishment of a number of bioscience spin-out companies.

The University of Manchester’s Prof Richard Walmsley, founder of Gentronix Ltd, has developed an innovative toxicity screening method for potential cancer hazards. The method can be used early in development to identify potential cancer hazard in new drugs and household products, reducing the number of animal tests required later.

The event, ‘Bioscience:Biomillions’, illustrated how the UK’s excellent bioscience research base, principally funded by BBSRC with over £400M of public money each year, is delivering substantial economic and social impact. Other high impact bioscience research on show included work to understand and defeat hospital superbugs, research to understand ageing and to develop ways to encourage healthier ageing, and research to help farmers increase crop yields and to cope with a changing climate.

Participants in the event included researchers from both Manchester Universities and other bio-scientists being highlighted for their contributions, dignitaries including Ian Pearson MP, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation, industry leaders, policy makers and leading academics.

Mr Pearson said: “Bioscience researchers in the UK have not only pursued excellent, world-class research, but they have also been active in ensuring that we all benefit from their efforts.

“In order to remain globally competitive and meet the future challenges of living within our environmental and population limits, it is vital that bioscience researchers continue to maximise the positive economic and social impacts of their research and activities.”

Steve Visscher, BBSRC Interim Chief Executive, said: “The UK’s world class bioscience research base underpins major economic and social sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food, healthcare and the environment. Our researchers are amongst the best in the world in terms of the quality of their science but they are also making huge contributions to quality of life for people through economic and social impact.”

The event also highlighted the success of BBSRC initiatives such as the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme in developing the innovators of the future, and the Business Plan Competition in facilitating the birth of new companies.

Source: UMIC Press release


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