Scientists from the University of Stirling and Rothamsted Research will team up this year to help the general public learn more about the importance of bioscience research.
The joint effort will form part of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) 20th anniversary celebrations.
In 2014, BBSRC is working with 17 groups of leading scientists across the UK to develop exciting exhibitions about bioscience and encourage public engagement. The exhibits will mark 20 years of pioneering Great British bioscience research and help showcase some of the world-class bioscience projects the BBSRC funds.
Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and Hertfordshire-based agricultural research institute Rothamsted Research were one of the teams selected by the BBSRC. They have received almost £10,000 to develop an engaging exhibit for their BBSRC-funded project “Alpha and Omega: making fish oils in GM plants”.
The two organisations will use the funds to develop a display and programme of activities that will enable them to showcase the importance of their work to a wider audience.
The University of Stirling’s Professor Douglas Tocher said: “The majority of people’s diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids - essential nutrients that can help prevent several inflammatory and pathological conditions, including cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
“Fish are our major dietary source of these nutrients. High levels of omega-3 can be assured in farmed fish, which constitute around 50% of all the fish we eat, by adding marine fish oil to their feeds. However, fish oil is a finite and limited resource and so new sources of omega-3 are required for the sustainable development of aquaculture.
“Our project is addressing this problem by metabolically engineering plants to supply these essential nutrients instead.”
He added: “We are delighted our game-changing research has been selected to be part of this celebration of British bioscience research. Our participation at various exhibitions and shows around the country will provide a unique opportunity for our science to reach people across the UK and engage the British public.”
The team will be presenting the “Alpha and Omega: making fish oils in GM plants” exhibit at a variety of events throughout the year, including the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh in June.
In November all of the exhibits will be brought together at the Great British Bioscience Festival in London, organised by BBSRC. The festival will be open to the general public and free to attend.
The University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture is the leading international centre in its field and is the largest of its kind in the world. With an excellent RAE 2008 outcome, we bring together cross-disciplinary, world class researchers to meet the wide range of challenges faced as aquaculture grows to meet global demands. http://www.aqua.stir.ac.uk/
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our 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.
Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £467M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk