PRESS RELEASE: Dr Luke Alphey wins Innovator of the Year 2014

March 21, 2014

Oxitec is delighted to congratulate Dr Luke Alphey on winning the BBSRC’s Fostering Innovation awards, 2014. At the award event held on 20th March, Dr Alphey won both the social innovator category, and the overall award. These awards recognise Dr Alphey’s world-leading research firstly at Oxford University and then Oxitec, in the field of genetic control of insect pests.

The awards were established by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in 2008.  They recognise the impact of bioscience both on the economy and society, through driving innovation, training highly-skilled people, improving businesses and public services and attracting foreign investment.

Dr Alphey’s research has developed into a new approach to combat the mosquitoes that spread dengue fever; the fastest growing mosquito -borne viral disease in the world. There are now an estimated 300-400 million infections of dengue globally per annum and new tools are badly needed to curtail the spread of the disease. Oxitec has also applied the same innovative approach to the control of agriculture pests providing a species specific and sustainable way of combating insect damage to farmers’ crops.

Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry said: “We are delighted Luke’s innovation, which we are now bringing forward in several countries, has received such recognition. It is not often in one’s experience that one comes across an innovation that has potential to have such a broad societal impact in terms of health, environment and economy. On a personal level that is why I joined Oxitec and that is what motivates the Oxitec team.”

 

About BBSRC

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Its aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £500M (2012-2013), it supports research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people it funds are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Its investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.