The UK government has announced £125 million of funding over five years to develop the next generation of scientists.

The investment has been made by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which is funded by the Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The cash will be used for the training and development of 1,250 PhD students by leading universities and scientific institutions through doctoral training partnerships.

Some 30% of students will be trained in agriculture and food security, 20% in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy, 10% in bioscience for health, and the remaining 40% “in other world-class frontier bioscience to help fuel future discoveries”, the BBSRC said.

Celia Caulcott, BBSRC executive director for innovation and skills, noted that “bioscience is having a massive impact on many aspects of our lives” and  it will “change the way we live our lives in the 21st century”. Business secretary Vince Cable added that “the UK punches far beyond its weight in science and innovation globally, which is a credit to our talented scientists and first-class universities. This new funding will safeguard Britain's status as a world leader in life sciences and agricultural technology”.