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					                              THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

                   COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND VETERINARY MEDICINE

                                   RESEARCH COMMITTEE

           Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 21 September 2005 at 2 pm in
     the Mary Kinross Room, 2nd floor, The Queen's Medical Research Institute, Little France

Present:          Professor J R Seckl (Convener)
                  Professor J Savill, Head of College
                  Professor P Brophy
                  Professor A Harmar
                  Professor D Harrison
                  Professor C Haslett
                  Professor S Hillier
                  Professor E Johnstone
                  Professor J Mullins
                  Professor A Nash
                  Professor D E Newby
                  Professor S Ralston
                  Professor M Shipston
                  Professor E Watson
                  Dr J Bradshaw
                  Dr H Cubie
                  Ms L MacDonald

In attendance: Professor I Goryanin
               Mr P McGuire (Secretary)

Apologies:        Professor G Fowkes
                  Professor P Ghazal
                  Professor CGregory
                  Professor A Illius
                  Professor R G Morris
                  Professor D Porteous
                  Professor P Sandercock

A.      FORMAL BUSINESS

        Members were welcomed to the Queen's Medical Research Institute. It was hoped that
        there will be many interactions between those visiting and their research groups and
        research staff and groups now based here.

        Thanks to Professor Haslett
        Thanks were expressed to Professor Haslett for his roles as Convener of the
        Committee since its inception within the then Faculty Group, as Director of Research
        and RAE Co-ordinator. These roles have borne considerable responsibility and the RAE
        and planning for the re-location to Little France in particular have entailed an enormous
        amount of work. The College is most grateful to him.

        Convener of the Committee
        Professor Seckl was welcomed as new Director of Research for the College, RAE Co-
        ordinator and Convener of the Committee.

        Welcome to new School representatives on the Committee
        The Committee welcomed new members Professor Tony Harmar, Head of the School
        of Biomedical Sciences, Professor Dave Newby, Director of Clinical Research Facility
        and representative of the School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health and
        Professor Stuart Ralston, Head of the School of Molecular and Clinical Medicine.


                                     Minutes of College Research Committee, 21 September 2005 (1)
      Membership of the Committee
      The revised membership was noted. The membership comprises some ex-officio
      members, Directors of Research Centres, and some co-opted members. It is intended
      that the Committee will address al matters associated with research at a strategic level.
      Also, the Committee will play a vital role in the lead up to RAE 2008.

      Professor Chris Haslett and Professor Chris Gregory would alternate as Centre for
      Inflammation Research representative on the Committee.

      Post of Entrepreneur in Residence
      This was almost ready to be advertised, subject to complying with EU and Freedom of
      Information requirements. The background to this post is the College’s under-
      performance in terms of spinouts, licences and other areas of commercialisation of its
      research. The SHEFC Knowledge Transfer Grant-funded post will be used to examine
      the IP we have and its commercialisation potential, to explore opportunities nationally
      and globally for company formation and company collaboration. Income generation will
      be a key objective. It is a bold initiative, but working within traditional university
      structures can hinder innovative approaches, while it is belived that a more hard-
      headed, market knowledgeable perspective will reap benefits for the College.

      There may also be potential synergies with NHS technology transfer initiatives.

      Minutes of the previous meeting, 19 January 2005
      Approved

      Matters arising
      There were none.

B.    ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION
i)    Edinburgh Centre for Bioinformatics
      Professor Igor Goryanin, Chair in Computational Systems Biology and Director,
      Edinburgh Centre for Bioinformatics was invited to speak to the Committee on the
      status of the Centre and its future vision. The main purpose of his talk was to begin a
      Biomathematics and Biomedical research dialogue and to explain something about
      computational systems biology. His talk touched on various complex signalling models
      his Centre utilises, and key aspects of these, including:
         Static Models
         Quantitative Kinetic Models
         Systems Biology Graphical Notation (SBGN) graphical notation for representing
          biological interactions
         the modelling process in biology/medicine
         the Edinburgh Pathway Editor (EPE)
         as an example, an analysis for breast cancer
         the EGFR (Epidermal growth factor receptor) signalling network.

      In addition he explained the structure of the Edinburgh Centre for Bioinformatics, what
      Systems Biology does within the School of Informatics and the Centre’s proposed
      collaborative projects.

      These powerful technologies provided many potential opportunities for centres and
      groups, including biomarkers, where a major EU and MRC funding initiative is
      expected soon, also brain imaging and the pooling of data, cardiovascular and
      integrative physiology.

      Professor Goryanin was thanked for coming to speak to the Committee, and it was
      hoped that collaborations would develop in the future. Copies of Professor Goryanin’s
      slides have been circulated with the minutes.

ii)   Edinburgh Neuroscience (EdinNeuro)
      The paper had been deferred from February 2005. Professor Seckl chaired and
      contributed to the review. For some time there has existed a perception that
                                   Minutes of College Research Committee, 21 September 2005 (2)
       Neuroscience at Edinburgh collectively has not been as effective as it could be, while
       within Neuroscience there is an overwhelming wish for an umbrella organisation,
       without interfering with the two established and successful centres we have. The report
       was accepted by the Principal’s Strategy Group, and the Principal subsequently invited
       Professor Morris and Professor Warlow to chair Edinburgh Neuroscience.

       Professor Seckl was congratulated on his review, which is already bearing results. The
       hope was expressed that in due course there would be developed a roadmap to a
       single, cohesive, cross-disciplinary clinical and basic Neuroscience institute at Little
       France. However, it is recognised that for some hospital-based units in particular, this
       may not be possible, so a 2015 vision statement might be more appropriate. REH and
       WGH patients travelling to Little France may not necessarily be problematic as they
       travel from all over Scotland anyway.

       Although Neuroscience now needs a period of stability and clarity, crucial first
       challenges for EdinNeuro will be to begin to articulate the overall vision, to help shape
       an external profile and to identify the interfaces between disciplines. Royal Society
       funding is being sought to raise public awareness, and the College has made a one-off
       commitment of £50k to develop a website and otherwise help raise the profile of this
       new entity. Some tangible targets should also be set, for example combined studies,
       and how various units are to relate.

       In conclusion it was commented that differences between Neuroscience disciplines may
       have been overstated in the past, that CIR and CRB have provided examples of
       interactions which previously had not been foreseen, that the content of the 2015 vision
       paper is vital and that EdinNeuro developments should be kept under the scrutiny of
       this Committee.

iii)   RAE 2008:
       Update on University preparations for RAE 2008
       Noted. The publication period is 1 January 2001 – 31 December 2007. It was agreed
       that as there are now three new Heads of School, it would be useful to repeat the
       exercise held in Spring last year, whereby academic staff were asked to submit their top
       six publications for review. Academic colleagues will be asked to identify which are their
       papers, in view of RAE panel concerns about duplication. It is hoped the exercise will
       help staff to focus on the RAE and identify what Directors need to do, while there is still
       time to manoeuvre. Centre Directors will also be asked to draft a mock RA5 (Research
       environment and esteem RA5a, Individual staff circumstances RA5b, Category C staff
       circumstances RA5c http://www.rae.ac.uk/pubs/2005/03/rae0305.doc.) Further, the
       exercise will help to identify what planned investments are required. The Principal is
       keen to establish a strategic appointments fund.

       RAE 2008 Panels will closely scrutinise returns for duplication. There are many fine
       choices to be made regarding the final RAE submission, and many will be made as the
       submission deadline approaches, by the Director of Research. There may be some
       returning of staff in other Colleges.

       Regarding centre/unit publication databases, there exists no template or standard
       software for these. However, some academic units use EndNote software, which allows
       one to search and download references from electronic databases and on-line library catalogues,
       etc.

iv)    Summary notes on RAE strategy meeting, The Burn, April 2005
       Noted. It was agreed that there should be a return visit to The Burn in early summer
       2006, to further discuss the College’s RAE 2008 strategy.

v)     ERI report on research awards
       Noted.




                                      Minutes of College Research Committee, 21 September 2005 (3)
vi)    Centre awards 2005/06
       In the run up to RAE 2008, there is a vital need for the strategic use of funds. It was
       recommended that Centres be awarded £5,000 each for the current academic year,
       with the remainder of the Director’s fund to be used for strategic purposes, at his
       discretion.

       It may be possible to make a contribution from the Psychiatry endowment to CNR, to
       allow key persons to visit. Also, Scottish Enterprise in Edinburgh & Lothian (SEEL) is
       keen to provide matching funds for initiatives of this type, particularly where commercial
       benefits can be emphasised. Laura MacDonald can advise here.

vii)   Reports on recent major funding bids
       A key bid is for a combined Department of Health, Wellcome, Wolfson, MRC award.
       £74 m. is being offered for patient centred research to develop new therapies. This
       initiative is offering two funding streams: for experimental medicine and research
       infrastructure.

       Wellcome and Wolfson are awarding £30 m, possibly more, for research infrastructure,
       mainly to develop existing clinical research facilities. Their goal is to speed up the
       translation of scientific advances into benefits for patients. As the College has a CRF, a
       bid was submitted for £4 m. for a 3T research magnet and support and CT PET
       support. Full bids are due at the end of 2005.

       Scottish Enterprise has been discussing building a Centre for Biomedical Research
       behind the QMRI and a detailed feasibility report has been forwarded to SEEL. SE
       looks likely to fund £45 m. The specification for the building, is for a translational
       research facility of the highest quality, for a world-leading facility.

       The BBSRC Integrative Mammalian Biology awards offer £11 m. for capacity building.
       Applications could span all three Colleges so an internal selectivity will be essential. It is
       intended that the College will submit a bid for a range of posts from 4 year PhDs to
       lectureships.

C.     MEETING DATES 2005/06

       Date                                   Time           Venue
                                                                     nd
       Weds 25 January 2006                   3 p.m.         E3.02, 2 floor, QMRI
                                                                     nd
       Weds 15 March 2006                     2 p.m.         E3.02, 2 floor, QMRI
                                                                     nd
       Weds 3 May 2006                        2 p.m.         E3.02, 2 floor, QMRI
                                                                     nd
       Weds 28 June 2006                      2 p.m.         E3.02, 2 floor, QMRI

D.     ANY OTHER BUSINESS

       There was a meeting at Little France earlier today to discuss the problem of hepatitis
       virus in some mice colonies. There it was emphasised that the College seeks to
       maintain high quality standards in all its animal facilities.




                                      Minutes of College Research Committee, 21 September 2005 (4)

				
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