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Cambridge scientists highlighted for contribution to UK economy

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have been highlighted as being among the top bioscientists contributing to the UK's economic and social 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 at the University was celebrated for its economic and social impact.

Prof Nigel Slater, of the Department of Chemical Engineering, was highlighted for his role as a founder of Cobra Biosciences Ltd, from which Cobra BioManufacturing plc emerged in 2002. Nigel is a non-executive director of Cobra BioManufacturing plc, which employs over 120 staff at its sites in Keele and Oxford where it carries out process development and GMP production of proteins, viruses, DNA and cell products for biopharmaceutical clients.

Other members of the University of Cambridge mentioned were Professors Sir Tom Blundell and Chris Abell, Prof Athene Donald, Prof David Klenerman and Prof Peter Leadlay.

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 the University of Cambridge and other bioscientists 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.

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