New BBSRC chief executive enters blogosphere

December 11, 2008

Few senior government officials do it. And the thought of a research council chief executive engaging in the practice is likely to raise a few eyebrows.

But the new chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has thrown caution to the wind and has been persuaded to write his own internet blog.

The blog, entitled "Professor Douglas Kell's blog", is hosted on the BBSRC website.

In his first entry, Professor Kell explains that the blog is not a "vehicle for disseminating official BBSRC policy" but will "almost certainly" be used to discuss issues of general interest to the BBSRC community and complement discussions with colleagues at institutes and universities.

"It is simply a form of self-expression," he writes, explaining that he will use it to air thoughts or facts that others may find interesting. Readers are also promised the judicious use of a bon mot "here and there".

The blog has been submitted by Professor Kell and Duncan Hull, a postdoctoral research student in Professor Kell's research group at the University of Manchester, as part of the "Science Blogging Challenge" being run by Nature Network.

The competition challenges junior scientists to persuade the most senior scientist they can to write a blog.

Dr Hull told Times Higher Education that it had taken him "quite a long time" to persuade Professor Kell to take the plunge. "He has to keep doing it ... we will see what happens there," Dr Hull said.

Matt Goode, BBSRC deputy head of external relations, assured Times Higher Education that Professor Kell will always write his own submissions.

It may, however, keep him busy. Dr Hull estimated that a blog could take between ten minutes to half a day to pen, depending on quality.

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