A new portfolio of funding aimed at enhancing research with socio-economic impact in the UK has been announced by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with the Pirbright Institute receiving a £90million share.
BBSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has committed a total investment of £376m over the next five years with the long-term investment in Pirbright enabling research into bio-based solutions to address major global challenges.
The funding will allow research into two key strategic programmes to continue – one focuses on the ‘Virus Life Cycles at Multiple Scales’, investigating how virus-host interactions control species-specific pathology and how viruses overcome barriers to species jumping. It will also investigate virus transmission and the impact of climate change on transmission.
The second key strategic programme, ‘Host Responses to Viral Infection’, will investigate why host responses to infection can lead to disease with little protection. Additionally, natural host systems using high consequence viruses will help provide insights into the mechanisms of cell, organ and whole animal function that will impact on reducing the burden of pathogens for livestock and humans. The programme will support the improvement of vaccine efficacy, while developing a more complete understanding of vaccine platform applicability across hosts.
Funding will also be provided to support Pirbright’s ‘Core Capability Grant’ and Institute Development Grant’, both of which are developing people, knowledge and facilities aligning with BBSRC’s institute strategy and which contribute to the country’s ability to solve societal challenges.
Professor Bryan Charleston, director and CEO of The Pirbright Institute, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from BBSRC for the next five years, allowing us to pursue our research and make substantial contributions to address global social challenges. This investment reaffirms our commitment to advancing knowledge and finding innovative solutions with our many collaborators, that can positively impact the world.”
Professor Melanie Welham, executive chair at BBSRC, said: “BBSRC’s strategically supported institutes are a vital component of the national and international bioscience research and innovation ecosystem. As experts in their fields, these world-class research institutes provide the UK with the capability and connectivity needed to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the bioscience revolution.
“The investment BBSRC is making in its strategically supported institutes over the next five years will help deliver novel bio-based solutions to some of the greatest challenges we face as a society.
“Bioscience shapes our lives in so many different ways and as the UK’s major public funder of bioscience research and innovation, it is mission critical that BBSRC invests in world-class science that delivers benefits to society as a whole while driving economic growth and prosperity across the UK and beyond.”