Alvin Hall, Dr Luke Alphey, Professor Steven Jackson, Professor Jeff Errington and Professor Douglas Kell
Prof Stephen Jackson was named as the first Innovator of the Year at an awards ceremony and gala dinner at Banqueting House in London last night (24 March) and was presented with the trophy and prize cheque for £10,000 by the well-known finance and television personality Alvin Hall. An independent judging panel had earlier selected Prof Stephen Jackson as the 2009 Innovator of the Year for his work to turn research on DNA damage and repair into cancer therapies that are now saving the lives of breast and ovarian cancer sufferers.
Two runners-up, Dr Luke Alphey and Prof Jeff Errington, were recognised for their work on spin out companies that have developed new ways to defeat disease carrying mosquitoes and crop pests, and new approaches to tackling superbugs like MRSA respectively. They each received £5,000.
Prof Stephen Jackson, said: "It's a tremendous honour to receive this prestigious award. It really reflects that science, like that funded by BBSRC in my group over the years can yield both exciting science and commercial and social applications.
"I think this award is a showcase for how funding of science by BBSRC is able to provide major tangible benefits not only the UK science base but also the biotech and pharmaceutical industries."
Alvin Hall, highlighting the importance of innovation in a downturn, said: "It was a total pleasure to attend the Innovator of Year ceremony, to meet the inspiring finalists and to present the prizes. I work with companies on both sides of the Atlantic to help them to develop and grow - and at the moment how to get through the downturn. One thing all organisations need is bright people prepared to take a great idea and run with it. In the finalists of Innovator of the Year the UK has seven individuals who have already done this."
The Innovator of the Year Award is an annual competition designed to recognise and reward those bioscientists who are taking steps to transfer the UK’s world beating bioscience research base into impacts that positively affect quality of life for UK citizens. The award aims to build a culture amongst the research base where all scientists consider the potential of their research and the steps that could be taken to maximise its social and economic impact.
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "The group of finalists the judges had to select the winner from was absolutely fantastic and everyone at BBSRC congratulates Professor Stephen Jackson on being named 2009 Innovator of Year.
"The finalists represent both the pinnacle of bioscientists who are turning their research into impact and, at the same time, just the tip of the iceberg. UK bioscience is world beating and BBSRC is striving to help translate this into economic and social benefits to create world beating companies and products. From tackling superbugs and developing new drugs to higher yielding crops and new animal vaccines, bioscience research generates millions of pounds for the UK economy and saves billions of pounds through policy advice every year. When the world emerges from recession it will be these high-tech, knowledge intensive areas that will help to power the UK economy."
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