Logo for the University of Nottingham's Biodiscovery Institute

August 25, 2021, by Rob Ounsworth

Launch of Biodiscovery Institute: celebrating our research and wonderful people

By Professor Chris Denning

The University of Nottingham’s Biodiscovery Institute officially opens on Monday 6 September, when Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West will welcome around 100 guests including senior leaders from industry, funding bodies and government.

We are honoured that Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council Professor Fiona Watt will formally open the institute and deliver a compelling keynote speech. We will hear of her research and career, as well as wider perspectives in science. This is apt since the Biodiscovery Institute is a world-leading hub of interdisciplinary research excellence that is shaping the future of health and biotechnology. We are home to 850 talented academics, researchers, clinicians and support staff, who have leveraged £223m in funding since 2014.

This is a stunning achievement, underpinned our commitment to a vibrant, inclusive environment where everyone is valued, has a voice, and can maximise their potential, regardless of gender, race, religion, or mental and physical health.

This ethos reflects my own belief. During the launch event, I will chair a panel discussion on “Improving research culture: Balancing health with scientific excellence”. The panel will include Brian Henry, Head of Global Product Development at Pfizer, Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of NC3Rs, which drives use of technology to replace animal studies. In addition, my close colleague, Dr Bindi Brook, a mathematical modeller working with life scientists and clinicians to address health challenges, will be championing and advocating mental health in the workplace.

The premise is simple. We believe that individuals thrive, innovate and succeed in an environment where cooperation and trust are highly valued and where mistakes are embraced as learning opportunities.

A lab in the Biodiscovery Institute

The Biodiscovery Institute is home to 850 talented academics, researchers, clinicians and support staff

This is all easy for me to say – our guests will hear this for themselves as they meet colleagues at our institute. We will invite visitors on interactive tours, and give snapshots of how we are using chemical and biological discovery to diagnose, treat and cure disease.

After a wrap up of the formal part of the event by Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, we invite delegates to have a ‘behind the scenes’ chat with the people from our institute on research, collaboration, careers and culture.

Watch the live stream

We are limiting the launch to just 100 people due to the pandemic. If you missed out on a VIP invite, I do hope that you and your colleagues will watch a live stream. Please visit the BDI website for details and follow @UoN_BDI for updates.

Our original launch was shelved by the coronavirus pandemic and all our lives have changed so much. But we can all take pride in all we have accomplished in the most challenging of circumstances.

None of this would have been possible without the kindness and support that everyone at the Biodiscovery Institute has shown one another. It’s not rocket science to acknowledge that happy people are more innovative, motivated and productive. In the challenges of the post Covid-19 era, this will become more important than ever.

I hope insights into our discoveries and world-class facilities will inspire our visitors and deepen collaborations with academia, industry and government, while also highlighting how at the Biodiscovery Institute we embrace, support and value our wonderful, dedicated people.

Chris Denning is a Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Director of the University of Nottingham Biodiscovery Institute.

Posted in research