AAB - President


Welcome to the Association of Applied Biologists 


The Association has produced videos at several of its recent conferences.  Click on the links below to view these videos:



Click here for a copy of the Association's Strategy document for 2015/2016


The Association has negotiated a special price for AAB Members to publish in our Open Access journal Food and Energy Security - UK 500 pounds (usual price UK1200 pounds).  To submit your manuscript click here 


Click here for a copy of the Association's Annual Report for 2015 


Hard copies will be available at the University of Edinburgh, George Square Lecture Theatre, on 9 September and from the AAB Office (email Bernadette@aab.org.uk)  


Click here for a letter from Sir John O'Reilly from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills inviting responses for interactions between the research base and the wider innovation ecosystem   


Click here for the Association's latest newsletter featuring AAB council updates, Conference reports and listings, Features and more!




Rank Prize Funds Nutrition Committee

Vacation Studentships 2017

The Rank Prize Funds will be again be offering vacation studentships commencing in the Summer of 2017. A total grant of UK 250 pounds per week for 10 weeks) together with up to UK 500 pounds for consumables (the proposed amount should be justified on the application form) will be available for students to assist in research projects in the fields of human nutrition, animal nutrition and crop husbandry.  Topics should be within the remit of the Committee. Supervisors already actively engaged on appropriate projects can download the guidelines and application form from the news section on the website www.rankprize.org.

Closing date for applications will be midnight on 8th Feb 2017


Science Policy Newsletter – a weekly round-up of policy headlines and stories

24 May 2017



Top stories

Report lists UK universities and disciplines most dependent on EU research and innovation funding
Brexit will have significant implications for the UK’s research and innovation environment because of the importance of EU funding.

UK political parties promise science funding boost
Researchers welcome pre-election promises to raise R&D, implying billions more for science.

Election 2017: what the manifestos say on higher education
With the publication of a number of 2017 General Election manifestos this week, there is no shortage of debate within the higher education sector about some of the policies proposed.

Mapping the manifestos
The platforms of Britain’s main parties offer voters areas of overlap and clear blue water.


Health and biomedicine

Major research funders and international NGOs to implement WHO standards on reporting clinical trial results
Some of the world’s largest funders of medical research and international non-governmental organizations today [18 May 2017] agreed on new standards that will require all clinical trials they fund or support to be registered and the results disclosed publicly.

Genome editing public survey and call for evidence
A new biological technique could allow us to ‘edit out’ genetic disease in future generations. But what would be the implications?

Without action on antibiotics, medicine will return to the dark ages
Continued overprescribing and abuse could lead to more people dying of resistant infections than cancer. Only global cooperation can solve the problem.

Lab-grown blood stem cells produced at last
Two research teams cook up recipe to make long-sought cells in mice and people.

The impact of social sciences on health behaviour interventions has diminished – more interdisciplinary, culture-focused research is needed
Capturing the impact of social sciences on other disciplines is notoriously difficult. Daniel Holman, Rebecca Lynch, and Aaron Reeves have looked at the example of health behaviour interventions (HBIs), a field recently criticised for failing to draw on alternative, social sciences approaches that emphasise the structured and contextual aspects of behaviour and health.


Food and drink

Fixing the tomato: CRISPR edits correct plant-breeding snafu
Geneticists harness two mutations — each cherished by breeders, but detrimental when combined — to improve on 10,000 years of tomato domestication.

Can CRISPR feed the world?
As the world’s population rises, scientists want to edit the genes of potatoes and wheat to help them fight plant diseases that cause famine.

Buy locally, buy quality: sustainability in public food procurement
In the Strength2Food project, 30 partners in 15 countries have joined forces to analyse the leverage of quality and procurement policy for the creation of shorter, more sustainable food supply chains.

Environment and ecology

Protection for living reef
Loch Carron flame shell beds designated as Marine Protected Area. An endangered seabed habitat off the north west coast has been designated as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) by the Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

World facing 'escalating ecological and human disaster', says Prince Charles as he launches major initiative on plastics
The Prince of Wales has urged the world to tackle the "escalating ecological and human disaster" of plastics in the sea as he launched a competition with Dame Ellen MacArthur to find solutions to the problem.

UN looks to protect birds from green energy threats


Climate and energy

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts
No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change.


EU nations set to wipe out forests and not account for emissions
It looks like greenwash.  European nations publicly keen to boost their climate credentials by switching to “green” biomass are accused of working behind the scenes to expunge their carbon emissions from burning wood in power stations from national emissions statistics.



Food waste: the problem in the EU in numbers


Government and parliament

University leaders welcome Tory pledge to increase R&D spend
Vice-chancellors have welcomed plans to raise R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP within the next decade.

Purdah ‘does not apply’ to university academics
Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood has been forced to clarify that purdah rules should not be used to restrict commentary from university academics, even if they are funded by UK research councils.


Exiting the EU

Brexit barriers 'would harm science', say universities

EU Discusses Brexit Position as U.K. Threatens to Quit Talks
European Union ministers meet in Brussels on Monday to refine their Brexit negotiating position after the U.K. threatened to quit talks on its departure unless the bloc drops its demands for a divorce payment as high as 100 billion euros ($112 billion).


Research funding and higher education policy

CaSE vision for UK science and engineering
In a new briefing ahead of the 2017 General Election, CaSE sets the benefits of science and engineering and describes what a thriving environment for research and innovation would look like.

Not forgotten yet – what next for TEF?
The fact that the first Teaching Excellence Framework results will be published the week after the election wasn’t planned that way, but feels appropriate. Somehow it seems as though that the entire process of TEF-construction has been conducted in the shadow of a dysfunctional political system which has more pressing matters on its mind.

Forward together in the next major wave of technical education policy
We live in a highly competitive world in which the accent is more and more on professional and technical expertise. We shall not survive in this world if we in Britain alone downgrade the non-university professional and technical sector.

Gambling on higher education: When the fun stops, stop
Universities have a captive audience (both impressionable and digitally literate) who have access to full student loans. It would make perfect sense to supplement the educational enterprise with an online ‘entertainment’ offer.

Biology needs more staff scientists
Independent professionals advance science in ways faculty-run labs cannot, and such positions keep talented people in research, argues Steven Hyman.


Business and industry

BIA video showcase: Celebrating UK Bioscience – Dementia case study
The UK is leading the way in tackling this global health challenge. The Dementia Discovery Fund was created by the UK Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Research UK, alongside six major global pharmaceutical companies to boost innovation in research and development.


Open access and publication policy

Publish houses of brick, not mansions of straw
Papers need to include fewer claims and more proof to make the scientific literature more reliable, warns William G. Kaelin Jr.

Equality and diversity

Gender equality figures promising but not the full story
Relying just on numbers to assess gender equality is insufficient because companies and researchers are smart enough to game the system, a conference in Brussels, Belgium, has heard.

UK higher education has ‘shrugged its shoulders’ at race and gender discrimination
Say Burgin says that universities lack the will to make the changes needed to tackle inequality.


Public engagement

What we've learned from #ExpertDebate
Wellcome's Director Jeremy Farrar reflects on the issues that mistrust of expertise raises for researchers.



Bioscientists Guide to Research Integrity
20 June 2017, London
We are currently inviting expressions of interest – Date TBC, London
This half-day workshop will provide an introduction to research integrity and responsible research conduct in the context of the Biosciences'. This workshop is suitable for researchers at all stages of their career - from PhD students to senior Professors.

Evidence-Informed Policy Making Event – OECD Directorate of Public Governance
26 - 27 June, Paris, France
The OECD Directorate of Public Governance would like to invite you to attend an upcoming event on evidence-informed policy making organised in collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), The Campbell Collaboration, and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)

 And finally...

Climate change is turning Antarctica green, say researchers
In the past 50 years the quantity and rate of plant growth has shot up, says study, suggesting further warming could lead to rapid ecosystem changes.

Royal Society of Biology
Science Policy Team
Charles Darwin House
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Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Society of Biology.


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© Royal Society of Biology 2017. Registered Charity Number: 277981
Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JU


The Association of Applied Biologists is an international professional society for all those working, studying or interested in applied biology.


The Association was founded in 1904 and is a registered charity (No. 275655). Our mission is:   


 "To promote the study and advancement of all branches of Biology and in particular (but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing), to foster the practice, growth and development of applied biology, with a focus on the application of biological sciences in the production of food, materials and energy, and for the maintenance and improvement of earth's environment".    


We deliver this charitable mission through the publication of scientific journals in applied biology, the organisation of conferences in a range of related subject themes, the formulation and dissemination of policies to promote the discipline, the production of a newsletter and the provision of services for members.


We have approximately 800 members across the world and many libraries subscribe to our publications.  


We welcome all those who are interested in applied biology.     


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