Michael Ashburner on Scientific Funding in the United States verus Britain
  Michael Ashburner     Biography    
Recorded: 08 May 2008

Well it’s true in Britain as well, and the structure is different, but it’s not that different. And, you know it’s, there is more private money for science, in I think in… There are more foundations in the States, funding research than there are here… So, you have these two, now well actually three now very big biomedical chapters, the Howard Hughes in the States, and the Wellcome Trust in the U.K. and the Wellcome Trust is actually about twice the size in terms of its capital, it’s about twice the size of the Howard Hughes at the moment. Yeah, and the population difference in three fold – four fold. But, and now the Gates Foundation, which is funding a lot. The Gates Foundation is funding internationally but so does the Wellcome Trust, but most of it is in the U.K. But, the structure is much the same. The bureaucracy of getting money out of government agencies is much the same. It’s probably slightly easier, bureaucratically easier, in the U.K. Europe is another matter, Europe is horrible.

Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.

He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.

Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).

Michael Ashburner