EXTRACT: Breakthroughs in GM crop science are fundamental to this Green Revolution, and today's announcement of major new funding for the UK Agri-science base marks a historic shift in the Government's recognition of the importance of the UK Agricultural Science sector. We need a new debate about the potential of GM crop science to help low carbon, low pesticide and low impact agriculture in the developing world.
NOTE: The Cameron Government are proving no less pro-GM than their New Labour predecessors. Not only do they have a former biotech lobbyist heading Defra and an agriculture minister keen to promote GM at every turn, but now this announcement from David Willetts, the universities and science minister, and George Freeman, the Government's "Life Science Adviser".
This announcement also follows the New Labour precedent of trying to gain fiancial advantage for UK bio-science by targetting GM crop research for the developing world, where they hope such projects will meet less resistance than in the UK and Europe. The US, as GM increasingly fails there with galloping weed and pest resistance and consumers increrasingly demanding GM labelling, also seems to be intensifying its push to get GM into developing countries. As usual, the goal seems to be to keep developing countries reliant on "western innovation", and make sure that they don't find their way into technologies that will work in their interest such as non-GM biotechnologies (like MAS), agroecology etc.
Willets and Freeman, incidentally, are currently at the BIO 2012 convention in Boston. Freeman previously worked for the NFU, which has an avidly pro-GM leadership. He also had a 15 year career in bioscience venture capital. Freeman is also Chairman of the All Party Group on Agricultural Science.
Government announces GBP250m new funding for UK Bio-economy
George Freeman MP's blog, 24 May 2012
Today's announcement of GBP250m of new funding for the UK Bio-economy is a historic shift in the development of a new Industrial Policy for Science and Innovation, and paves the way for the UK - and the Norwich Research Park - to lead a new Green Revolution in crop science.
The announcement by Rt. Hon. David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, of GBP250m new funding for the bio-economy is the launch pad of a new era of UK leadership in the bio-economy revolution sweeping the globe.
We face an urgent challenge of global sustainable development. Explosive growth of population and emerging economies in the developing world creates urgent problems of food security, public health and clean energy.
As the recent Foresight Report warned, we need to double global food production by 2050 with half the land, water and energy. This is driving a massive demand for new technologies in the 3 key 'life sciences' of Biomedicine, Cleantech and Agri-science. Breakthroughs in genetics, synthetic and systems biology and plant breeding techniques are driving a new Green Revolution in which a new generation of crops will allow us to feed the world.
The UK's world leading research base in biomedicine is well known, but for too long we have neglected our world-beating agricultural research. Breakthroughs in GM crop science are fundamental to this Green Revolution, and today's announcement of major new funding for the UK Agri-science base marks a historic shift in the Government's recognition of the importance of the UK Agricultural Science sector.
We need a new debate about the potential of GM crop science to help low carbon, low pesticide and low impact agriculture in the developing world. We need to unlock the full value of the UK Ag Science base in support of the world's food needs, whilst ensuring choice for UK consumers in our home market.
For further detail on the funding announcement: http://www.bis.gov.uk/news
See also: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council:
Norwich Research Park:
John Innes Centre:
Genome Analysis Centre: http://www.tgac.ac.uk/
Institute of Food Research: http://www.ifr.ac.uk/
Babraham Institute: http://www.babraham.ac.uk/
Rothamsted Research: http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/
Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University:
Roslin Institute: http://www.roslin.ed.ac.uk/
Institute for Animal Health: http://www.iah.ac.uk/