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Report of the General Board on the Institute of Biotechnology

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In this Report the General Board propose that the Institute of Biotechnology becomes a constituent member of the School of Technology. The Board also propose changes to the membership of the Biotechnology Syndicate, and to the arrangements for graduate students working in the Institute.

2. The Institute of Biotechnology was established in 1988 as a Department independent of any Faculty. It has been managed by the Biotechnology Syndicate under the supervision of the General Board. The Director of Biotechnology is Director of the Institute and Head of Department ex officio. The Institute's activities centre around the conduct of research and the training of postgraduates, and it has strong links with the bioscience industry, locally, nationally, and internationally. Although its permanent establishment of staff is relatively small, the Institute currently includes over one hundred staff from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, engaged in a highly multi-disciplinary programme of research in a range of areas including plant biotechnology, microbiology, anhydro-biotechnology, enzyme and protein engineering, biopharmaceuticals, and biosensors and prions. The Institute's funding is obtained from an equally broad range of sources including the Research Councils, Government, industry, the European Union, and charitable organizations. At present there are some twenty-five research students attached to the Institute, which is also responsible for the organization of teaching and administration of the one-year M.Phil. course in Bioscience Enterprise which has an annual intake of approximately twenty students.

3. A review of the Institute by the General Board in 1993 anticipated the desirability of the Institute becoming a constituent member of a School. The Board have, for some time, endeavoured to reduce the number of academic institutions independent of a School and their policy in this regard has been reinforced by the introduction of the Resource Allocation Model and the increasing devolution of financial responsibility to the Schools. The nature of the Institution's work is such that membership of either the School of the Biological Sciences or the School of Technology would be conceivable. There are, however, a number of reasons which make membership of the latter School particularly appropriate and timely. The School of Technology regard the enhancement of its institutions' interaction with the Life Sciences as a particular priority. A University Lectureship in Bioinformatics has, for example, been created recently in the Computer Laboratory. Undergraduate courses in Bioengineering are being developed in the Department of Engineering and it is anticipated that the next holder of the Professorship in Engineering (1875) will be within the field of Bioengineering. In the Institute, the M.Phil. course involves collaboration with the Department of Engineering and the Judge Institute of Management Studies. The Institute of Biotechnology already has strong research links with the Departments of Engineering and of Chemical Engineering and its links with the Computer Laboratory will be strengthened by a mutual interest in Bioinformatics. Its entrepreneurial activity and ambitions, evidenced by the six spin-off companies linked to it, are well aligned with those of the School's institutions. Membership of the School will not preclude inter-School activities.

4. In the event that the Institute becomes a member of the School of Technology, the General Board, with the concurrence of the Council of that School and of the Syndicate, consider it appropriate to adjust the membership of the Biotechnology Syndicate, in part to make it more in keeping with the governance arrangements of the School's other institutions.

5. The Institute's Graduate Students are presently the responsibility of the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Biology. The Institute's proposed membership of the School of Technology, and its particular links with Engineering, make it appropriate for that responsibility to be transferred to the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Engineering. The Board of Graduate Studies, the Faculty Board of Engineering, and the Degree Committees for the Faculties of Biology and of Engineering concur with this proposal.

6. The General Board recommend:

I. That, with effect from 1 October 2004, Regulations 1 (composition) and 2(a) (membership) for the School of Technology (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 542) be amended as follows:

Regulation 1.

By inserting at the end of the regulation the words ', and the Institute of Biotechnology'.

Regulation 2.

By inserting in class (a) of members of the Council of the School before the words 'all of whom shall be members ex officio' the words ', and the Director of the Institute of Biotechnology'.

II. That, with effect from the same date, Regulation 1 for the Institute of Biotechnology (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 564) be amended so as to read:

1. The Institute of Biotechnology shall be a Department independent of any Faculty, but under the supervision of the General Board. The Institute shall be under the general control of the Biotechnology Syndicate and shall be within the School of Technology.

III. That, with effect from the same date, Regulations 1-4 for the Biotechnology Syndicate (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 564) be amended so as to read:

1. The Biotechnology Syndicate shall consist of:

(a) the Vice-Chancellor (or a duly appointed deputy) as Chairman;

(b) the Director of the Institute of Biotechnology and the Heads of Departments of Engineering and Chemical Engineering;

(c) two persons appointed by the General Board;

(d) one person appointed by each of the Councils of the Schools of Clinical Medicine and of the Physical Sciences, the Faculty Boards of Biology and Engineering, and the Chemical Engineering Syndicate and the Management Studies Syndicate;

(e) two persons elected from amongst their own number by the University officers of the Institute of Biotechnology, except for the Director of the Institute;

(f) not more than two persons co-opted by the Syndicate;

(g) one person elected in accordance with Regulation 3.

2. Members in classes (c) and (d) shall be appointed in the Michaelmas Term to serve for four years from 1 January following their appointment. An election of members in class (e), if required, shall be held in the Michaelmas Term each year; the members so elected shall serve for two years from 1 January following the election. The procedure for such election shall be that prescribed in the Single Transferable Vote Regulations, except that the returning officer shall be the Chairman of the Syndicate or, in absence of the Chairman, a duly appointed deputy, subject to the approval of the General Board.

3. The provisions for election of members of Faculty Boards in class (f) and for the period for which such members shall serve, which are contained in Statute C, IV, in the regulations for the constitution of the Faculty Boards, and in the rules made under those regulations, shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the election and period of membership of members of the Syndicate in class (g).

4. The Syndicate shall appoint a Secretary who shall not be a Graduate Student or a person in statu pupillari.

IV. That, with effect from the same date, reference to the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Biology in Regulation 1 of the special regulations for the examination in Bioscience Enterprise for the M.Phil. Degree (one-year course) (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 461) be replaced by reference to the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Engineering.


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Cambridge University Reporter 26 May 2004
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.