Prof. Juliet Osborne and her BEEHAVE team have won the prestigious BBSRC 2017 “Innovator of the year” award for Social Impact due to their extensive work with policy makers, regulators and land-stewards.
The teams’ impact stretches globally: BEEHAVE is forming the basis of risk assessments for honeybee health across the UK, Europe and the USA, used by Syngenta, Bayer, the European Food Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The newest models, BEESCOUT and Bumble-BEEHAVE are being used with land-stewards such as farmers, land managers and landowners. In collaboration with the National Farmers Union (NFU), Natural England and regional Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) the team are helping to target pollinator-friendly management that benefits pollinator conservation and food production.
“It is really important that the research we do is applicable and useful to a wide range of users” Prof Juliet Osborne
The models enable the testing of different management scenarios in a virtual “safe-space” and so can be used to target and refine land management and environmental regulation. This can save a considerable amount of time and money. At an annual cost of over £1 billion, optimum placement of agri-environment schemes is critical. The agrochemical industry typically spends £1 million per ecotoxicological field trial and over £280 million to bring a product to market. The models can help target land management and trials accordingly, making a major contribution to the protection of our essential pollinators whilst saving millions of pounds. A win-win for bees and business.
The awards were hosted at East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf in London on the 24th May presented by Steve Bagshaw Chief executive of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnolgies and Prof Melanie Welham Executive of BBSRC. Prof Juliet Osborne and Dr Grace Twiston-Davies represented the BEEHAVE team which also includes model developer Dr Matthias Becher and Prof Volker Grimm.
Award winners receive funding to continue with their innovative impact work. The BEEHAVE team plan to “train the trainer” and establish a cohort of expert BEEHAVERS who can inspire and train others across a range of sectors.
The BBSRC Innovator of the Year awards recognises individual researchers and small teams who have excelled in making positive changes outside of the academic community with their research. Now in its ninth year, the awards not only celebrate excellence in impact, but provide the opportunity for the bioscience community to network with influential guests from the academic, policy and industrial communities, share ideas and celebrate innovation.