BBSRC mission and history


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) contributes to the economic competitiveness of the UK and the quality of life. BBSRC’s mission is to:

  • promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and related postgraduate training relating to the understanding and exploitation of biological systems
  • advance knowledge and technology (including the promotion and support of the exploitation of research outcomes)
  • provide trained scientists and engineers, which meet the needs of users and beneficiaries (including the agriculture, bioprocessing, chemical, food, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other biotechnological related industries).

In relation to the council’s activities, and as the council may see fit, to:

  • generate public awareness
  • communicate research outcomes
  • encourage public engagement and dialogue
  • disseminate knowledge.


The research councils were reorganised following the 1993 government white paper ‘Realising our Potential’.

BBSRC was established by Royal Charter in 1994 by incorporation of the former Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) with the biotechnology and biological sciences programmes of the former Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC). BBSRC is a non-departmental public body.

In April 2018 BBSRC became part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. UKRI brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

Chairs, Chief Executives and Executive Chairs


Sir Alistair Grant (1994 to 1998)

Dr Peter Doyle CBE (1998 to 2003)

Dr Peter Ringrose (2003 to 2009)

Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS (2009 to 2015)

Professor Sir Gordon Duff (2015 to 2018)

Chief Executive

Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS (1994 to1996)

Professor Ray Baker CBE (1996 to 2002)

Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow CBE (2002 to 2007)

Mr Steve Visscher CBE (2007 to 2008)

Professor Douglas Kell (2008 to 2013)

Professor Jackie Hunter (2013 to 2016)

Professor Melanie Welham (2016 to 2018)

Interim Executive Chair

Professor Guy Poppy (2023 to present)


External Affairs


Last updated: 7 February 2024

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.