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£14.5m to support next generation of scientists

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The East of Scotland BioScience Doctoral Training Partnership (EASTBIO) and the University of St Andrews are to benefit from £14.5 million funding announced today (Friday October 3, 2014) by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

An investment of £7.5 million from the BBSRC, matched by £7 million from the ESTBIO partnership, will support the training and development of 15 PhD students over five years. These students will be trained in world-class bioscience to keep Scotland at the forefront of research, and help drive the economy of the future.

This strategic investment recognises the University of St Andrews as being among the institutions providing the best skills and training for bioscience PhD students. It will help to attract the brightest students and turn them into the best researchers; transforming biology and life sciences research.

The EASTBIO Training Partnership is a collaborative training programme for PhD students, which pools the talents of the Universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh: four of the UK’s leading research intensive universities.

Highly skilled bioscience researchers are vital to address some of the world’s major challenges. They are driving discoveries in cell biology – the study of the basic unit of life; systems biology – using computers to model groups of molecules, groups of cells and even whole organisms; and translational biology – the application of biological knowledge to develop medicines and other therapies for eventual clinical use.

St Andrews is leading the way in the area of “translational biology” driving discoveries of novel drug treatments and the development of new medicines.

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.”

University of St Andrews Provost, Professor Verity Brown said:

“This is a tremendous endorsement of the quality of our scientists who are training the next generation of researchers. Research in the Life Sciences is important for Scotland, for the UK and – indeed – globally.”

Already there are around 650 life sciences companies providing 35,000 jobs in Scotland. This renewed investment will continue building on this enterprise and international innovation.

NOTES TO NEWS EDITORS

Business Secretary Vince Cable made this funding announcement on a visit to The Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh.

Funded by Government the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Their aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

For details of the EASTBIO partnership visit: http://www.eastscotbiodtp.ac.uk/

BBSRC Contact: Rob Dawson, BBSRC Head of News email: rob.dawson@bbsrc.ac.uk, Tel: 07557 487 865

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