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UK Biotechnology Council Earmarks $48.8M for Genomics Initiative

NEW YORK, Feb 2 - The UK government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has earmarked £33M, or $48.8 million, for a new genomics research initiative, the Council announced Thursday.

Scientists throughout the UK are eligible to apply for funding under the initiative, which is expected to run for a total of three to five years.

The initiative, " Exploiting Genomics,"  includes £19M ($28 M) in funding for projects that explore the functions of genes in seven model species, continuing the 1999 initiative “Investigating Gene Function.” In the earlier initiative, a number of UK research groups received funding to look at gene function in the Arabadopsis , Drosophila , Brassica , Streptomyces , microbial eukaryotes, cereal, and veterinary animal genomes.

Additionally, the initiative is allocating £5 million ($7.35 million) in funding for research that supports health care-related gene technologies such as xenografting, tissue engineering, and cellular therapies; and £6 million ($8.8 million) to investigate the effects of genetic factors on animal physiology.

“We are looking for research proposals that not only bring together the latest technologies in genetics, engineering and information science, but which also address pressing industrial and policy needs, for example, in the areas of improving food safety, in overcoming bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and in developing new cell- and gene-based treatments for disease.” said Professor David White, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, in a statement.

The Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the UK will take part in this initiative, supporting research in the areas they address.

Applications are due at two times, April 30 and November 26, 2001, but will be due a month earlier if the researchers are seeking funding from SERAD.

The awards will generally span the £500k-£1M ($735,000 - $1.47 million) range.

The proposals can be for projects that take up to five years, and involve work on a greater scale than a single project grant, the inititative's website specified.

Further details about applications can be obtained at the initiative’s website, http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/society/consult/exploit/.