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Cuts and the cutting edge: British science funding and the making of animal biotechnology in 1980s Edinburgh

  • DMITRIY MYELNIKOV (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

The Animal Breeding Research Organisation in Edinburgh (ABRO, founded in 1945) was a direct ancestor of the Roslin Institute, celebrated for the cloning of Dolly the sheep. After a period of sustained growth as an institute of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), ABRO was to lose most of its funding in 1981. This decision has been absorbed into the narrative of the Thatcherite attack on science, but in this article I show that the choice to restructure ABRO pre-dated major government cuts to agricultural research, and stemmed from the ARC's wish to prioritize biotechnology in its portfolio. ABRO's management embraced this wish and campaigned against the cuts based on a promise of biotechnological innovation, shifting its focus from farm animal genetics to the production of recombinant pharmaceuticals in sheep milk. By tracing interaction between government policies, research council agendas and local strategies, I show how novel research programmes such as genetic modification could act as a lifeline for struggling institutions.

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1 Renamed the Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) in 1983 to highlight the importance of food research to the British economy. In 1994, the BBSRC was founded, incorporating the AFRC with the biological programmes of the former Science and Engineering Research Council.

2 This paper builds most directly on García-Sancho Miguel, ‘Animal breeding in the age of biotechnology’, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences (2015) 37, pp. 282304 . On Dolly see especially Franklin Sarah, Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007 . See also Kolata Gina, Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead, London: Penguin, 1998 ; Wilmut Ian, Campbell Keith and Tudge Colin, The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001 ; Wilkie Tom and Graham Elizabeth, ‘Power without responsibility: media portrayals of British science’, in Klotzko Arlene Judith (ed.), The Cloning Sourcebook, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 135150 ; Holliman Richard, ‘Media coverage of cloning: a study of media content, production and reception’, Public Understanding of Science (2004) 13, pp. 107130 ; Myelnikov Dmitriy and García-Sancho Miguel (eds.), Dolly at Roslin: A Collective Memory Event, Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh, 2017 , available online at www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/files/36020152/CME_web_090517.pdf, accessed 14 July 2017.

3 On science funding in the Thatcher years see Martin Ince, The Politics of British Science, Brighton: Wheatsheaf, 1986; Wilkie Tom, British Science and Politics since 1945, Oxford: Blackwell, 1991 ; Thirtle Colin, Palladino Paolo and Piesse Jenifer, ‘On the organisation of agricultural research in Great Britain, 1945–1994’, Research Policy (1997) 26, pp. 557576 ; Palladino Paolo, Plants, Patients, and the Historian: (Re)membering in the Age of Genetic Engineering, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003 .

4 Palladino, op. cit. (3); Gaudillière Jean-Paul, ‘The farm and the clinic: An inquiry into the making of our biotechnological modernity’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2007) 38, pp. 521529 ; see also papers in Between the Farm and the Clinic: Agriculture and Reproductive Technology in the Twentieth Century, special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2007) 38(2).

5 On Thatcher and science see Jon Agar, ‘Thatcher, scientist’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society (2011), at http://rsnr.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/65/3/215, accessed 15 October 2016. On Thatcher and Thatcherism see e.g. Vinen Richard, Thatcher's Britain: The Politics and Social Upheaval of the Thatcher Era, London: Simon & Schuster, 2009 ; Sutcliffe-Braithwaite Florence, ‘Neo-liberalism and morality in the making of Thatcherite social policy’, Historical Journal (2012) 55, pp. 497520 ; Gamble Andrew, ‘The Thatcher myth’, British Politics (2015) 10, pp. 315 .

6 Kenney Martin, Biotechnology: The University–Industrial Complex, New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1986 ; Hughes Sally Smith, ‘Making dollars out of DNA: the first major patent in biotechnology and the commercialization of molecular biology, 1974–1980’, Isis (2001) 92, pp. 541575 ; Hughes , Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011 . Thackray Arnold (ed.), Private Science: Biotechnology and the Rise of the Molecular Sciences, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998 , a collection of papers on the history of biotechnology, is also indicative here, even though some papers highlight the role of the state. For a study of British biotechnology told from an entrepreneurial perspective see also Marks Lara V., The Lock and Key of Medicine: Monoclonal Antibodies and the Transformation of Healthcare, New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 2015 .

7 Wright Susan, Molecular Politics: Developing American and British Regulatory Policy for Genetic Engineering, 1972–1982, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1994 ; Mowery David C., Nelson Richard R., Sampat Bhaven N. and Ziedonis Arvids A., Ivory Tower and Industrial Innovation: University–Industry Technology Transfer before and after the Bayh-Dole Act in the United States, Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books, 2004 ; Yi Doogab, ‘Who owns what? Private ownership and the public interest in recombinant DNA technology in the 1970s’, Isis (2011) 102, pp. 446474 .

8 Bud Robert, The Uses of Life: A History of Biotechnology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993 ; Bud , ‘From applied microbiology to biotechnology: science, medicine and industrial renewal’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society (2010) 64, pp. S17S29 ; Gottweis Herbert, Governing Molecules: The Discursive Politics of Genetic Engineering in Europe and the United States, Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 1998 ; de Chadarevian Soraya, ‘The making of an entrepreneurial science: biotechnology in Britain, 1975–1995’, Isis (2011) 102, pp. 601633 ; Owen Geoffrey and Hopkins Michael M., Science, the State, and the City: Britain's Struggle to Succeed in Biotechnology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016 .

9 DeJager Timothy, ‘Pure science and practical interests: the origins of the Agricultural Research Council, 1930–1937’, Minerva (1993) 31, pp. 129150 .

10 DeJager, op. cit. (9); Thirtle, Palladino and Piesse, op. cit. (3).

11 The National Agricultural Advisory service became the Agricultural Development Advisory Service, or ADAS, in 1971.

12 Robertson Forbes W., ‘Genetics’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Section B, Biological Sciences (1983) 84, pp. 211229 ; Clare Button, ‘James Cossar Ewart and the origins of the Animal Breeding Research Department in Edinburgh, 1895–1920’, Journal for the History of Biology (forthcoming).

13 King John W.B., ‘Animal breeding research in Britain, 1931–1981’, in Cooke G.W. (ed.), Agricultural Research, 1931–1981: A History of the Agricultural Research Council and a Review of Developments in Agricultural Science during the Last Fifty Years, London: Agricultural Research Council, 1981, pp. 277288 ; H.P. Donald, Foreword, in ‘Animal Breeding Research Organisation Report – 1963’, EUA IN23/1/1/2, Records of Roslin Institute and predecessor institutions, Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK (‘Roslin papers’). The multibreed project is discussed in St Clair S. Taylor, ‘A multibreed approach to breed comparison’, ‘Animal Breeding Research Organisation Report – January 1972’, EUA IN23/1/1/2, Roslin papers.

14 Dunlop Margaret M., Goodbye Berlin: The Biography of Gerald Wiener, Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2016, p. 162.

15 Parker Miles, ‘The Rothschild report (1971) and the purpose of government-funded R & D: a personal account’, Palgrave Communications (2016) 2 , article number 16053, at www.nature.com/articles/palcomms201653, accessed 15 October 2016; anon., Another fresh look’, Nature (1970), 228, p. 1244.

16 On Heath's government machinery reform see Theakston Kevin, ‘The Heath government, Whitehall and the civil service’, in Ball Stuart and Seldon Anthony (eds.), The Heath Government, 1970–1974: A Reappraisal, London and New York: Longman, 1996, pp. 75106 ; John Ramsden, ‘The prime minister and the making of policy’, in ibid., pp. 21–46. On Rothschild see Rose Kenneth, Elusive Rothschild: The Life of Victor, Third Baron, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003 ; Parker, op. cit. (15). On the Think Tank see also Blackstone Tessa and Plowden William, Inside the Think Tank: Advising the Cabinet, 1971–1983, London: Heinemann, 1988 .

17 Rothschild Victor, ‘The organisation and management of government R. & D.’, in A Framework for Government Research and Development (Cmnd. 4814), London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1971 .

18 Two views of British science’, Nature (1971) 234, p. 169. On the Rothschild report and its implications see especially Calver Neil and Parker Miles, ‘The logic of scientific unity? Medawar, the Royal Society and the Rothschild controversy 1971–72’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society (2016) 70, pp. 83100 ; and Parker, op. cit. (15). See also Wilkie, op. cit. (3), pp. 80–93; de Chadarevian Soraya, Designs for Life: Molecular Biology after World War II, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 339–62; Agar, op. cit. (5).

19 On pure/applied research and various other definitions see Bud Robert, ‘Framed in the public sphere: tools for the conceptual history of “applied science” – a review paper’, History of Science (2013) 51, pp. 413433 ; Clark Sabine, ‘Pure science with a practical aim: the meanings of fundamental research in Britain, circa 1916–1950’, Isis (2010) 101, pp. 285311 . Rothschild elaborated his definitions and taxonomy of pure/applied research in Victor Rothschild, ‘Pure and applied research: the Trueman Wood lecture to the Royal Society of Arts, 8 December 1971’, in Rothschild , Meditations of a Broomstick, London: Collins, 1977, pp. 6883 ; Rothschild , ‘Forty-five varieties of research (and development)’, Nature (1972) 239, pp. 373378 .

20 Rothschild, ‘Pure and applied research’, op. cit. (19), p. 73.

21 Wilkie, op. cit. (3), pp. 87–88.

22 The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and its institutes were spared in the Rothschild report and subsequent reforms in the early 1980s, as its grants-in-aid model was considered efficient and not to be tampered with. Issues of Scottish autonomy also featured.

23 Rothschild, op. cit. (17), p. 21.

24 Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Planning for Future Flexibility and Structural Change, London: Agricultural Research Council, 1982, p. 16.

25 H.P. Donald, ‘New tasks for livestock genetics’, in Animal Breeding Research Organisation Report: January 1974, pp. 7–11, 8.

26 Quoted in director's report for the 1980 visiting group to ABRO, Box 14, BBSRC archives, Swindon, p. 1.

27 Henderson William, ‘1972–1980: post-Rothschild’, in Cooke G.W. (ed.), Agricultural Research, 1931–1981: A History of the Agricultural Research Council and a Review of Developments in Agricultural Science during the Last Fifty Years, London: Agricultural Research Council, 1981, pp. 277288 ; Thirtle, Palladino and Piesse, op. cit. (3); Parker, op. cit. (15).

28 Joint Consultative Organisation for Research and Development in Agriculture and Food (JCO), Second Reports of the Joint Consultative Organisation for Research and Development in Agriculture and Food, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1975 , paragraph 61(iii).

29 Not to be confused with the Priorities Board that replaced the Joint Consultative Organisation in 1984.

30 JCO, Reports of the Joint Consultative Organisation for Research and Development in Agriculture and Food 1976–77, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 .

31 Flavell Richard B., ‘Obituary: Sir Ralph Riley. 23 October 1924–27 August 1999’, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (2003) 49, pp. 385396 . The chairmen of the ARC tended to be aristocrats with an interest in farming: Lord Porchester (later the Earl of Carnarvon), 1978–1982, and then the Earl of Selbourne in 1982–1989.

32 Henderson, op. cit. (27); Parker, op. cit. (15).

33 Lord Rothschild to Margaret Thatcher, 20 June 1983, the National Archives of the UK (TNA): T 494/80 Treasury: Agricultural Research Council, review of agricultural and organisational policy.

34 Thatcher to Rothschild, 29 July 1983, TNA: T 494/80 Treasury: Agricultural Research Council, review of agricultural and organisational policy.

35 See Agar, op. cit. (5). In her memoirs Thatcher claimed, ‘As someone with a scientific background, I knew that the greatest economic benefits of scientific research had always resulted from advances in fundamental knowledge rather than the search for specific applications’. Thatcher Margaret, The Autobiography, London: Harper Press, 1993, p. 592.

36 ARC, Report of the Agricultural Research Council for the Year 1978/79, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1979, p. 1.

37 ARC, Report of the Agricultural Research Council for the Year 1979/80, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1980, p. 1.

38 ARC, Report of the Agricultural Research Council for the Year 1980/81, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1981, p. 1.

39 Walgate Robert, ‘UK research councils: getting off lightly’, Nature (1981) 289, pp. 435436 .

40 On cash planning see Thain Colin and Wright Maurice, ‘The advent of cash planning’, Financial Accountability & Management (1989) 5, pp. 149162 ; Thain and Wright, The Treasury and Whitehall: The Planning and Control of Public Expenditure, 1976–1993, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, pp. 352403 ; McLaughlin Andrew J. and Richardson Jeremy J., ‘Learning to live with public expenditure: politics and budgeting in Britain since 1976’, Public Budgeting and Financial Management (1994) 6, pp. 97129 .

41 ARC, Report of the Agricultural Research Council for the Year 1981/82, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1982, p. 2.

42 On continuity and change in the new biotechnology see Bud, The Uses of Life, op. cit. (8); Gaudillière Jean-Paul, ‘New wine in old bottles? The biotechnology problem in the history of molecular biology’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2009) 40, pp. 2028 .

43 On US biotechnology see Kenney, op. cit. (6); Vettel Eric J., Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006 ; Hughes, Genentech, op. cit. (6); Rasmussen Nicolas, Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014 ; Yi Doogab, The Recombinant University: Genetic Engineering and the Emergence of Stanford Biotechnology, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2015 . On recombinant DNA debates and resulting regulation policy in the US and the UK see Krimsky Sheldon, Genetic Alchemy: A Social History of the Recombinant DNA Controversy, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984 ; Wright, op. cit. (7); Gottweis, op. cit. (8).

44 Spinks Alfred, Biotechnology: Report of a Joint Working Party, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1980 .

45 Bud, ‘From applied microbiology to biotechnology’, op. cit. (8). See also Balmer Brian and Sharp Margaret, ‘The battle for biotechnology: scientific and technological paradigms and the management of biotechnology in Britain in the 1980s’, Research Policy (1993) 22, pp. 463478 ; Gottweis, op. cit. (8); de Chadarevian, op. cit. (8); Owen and Hopkins, op. cit. (8).

46 ARC, op. cit. (24); see also the testimony of Lord Selbourne, the ARC's chairman, 1982–1989, to the House of Lords: House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, Science and Government, vol. 2: Evidence, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1981, p. 84.

47 ARC, op. cit. (24); ARC, op. cit. (41), pp. 1–3.

48 ARC, op. cit. (38), p. 86. Counted by ARC's current expenditure at the time, excluding capital expenditure and the institutions’ receipts from other sources.

49 Animal Breeding Research Organisation: report of the visiting group, 1980, ARC 226/80, Box 14, BBSRC Archives (BBSRC archives), Swindon, p. 9. Please note that the BBSRC has kindly granted access to its archives on the condition of keeping any information regarding specific individuals anonymous. Wherever individuals are identified in this paper, it is from other sources, which include published ARC materials. The surprise of the visiting group members is recorded in ARC, op. cit. (24), p. 45.

50 Jinks is identified as chairman of the 1980 visiting group by Gerald Wiener, interviewed by Clare Button on 16 September 2014, EUA CA15/3, ‘Oral history recordings made as part of the “Towards Dolly” project’, Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, University of Edinburgh (‘“Towards Dolly” oral histories’). Anne McLaren was identified by Ian Wilmut when interviewed by Grahame Bulfield on 22 January 2015, EUA CA15/8, ‘Towards Dolly’ oral histories, and in his comments in Myelnikov and García-Sancho, op. cit. (2).

51 ‘Animal Breeding Research Organisation: report of the visiting group, 1980’, op. cit. (49), p. 17.

52 ‘In confidence: visit of … to Animal Breeding Research Organisation and the Poultry Research Centre, 19th and 20th February 1981’, Box 14, BBSRC archives, p. 1.

53 ‘In confidence’, op. cit. (52), p. 1.

54 Agar Jon and Balmer Brian, ‘Defence research and genetic engineering: fears and dissociation in the 1970s’, in Leggett Don and Sleigh Charlotte (eds.), Scientific Governance in Britain, 1914–79, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016, pp. 122143 .

55 Agar and Balmer, op. cit. (54), p. 44. King's proactive role is confirmed by Gerald Wiener and Alan Archibald, then ABRO scientist and the representative for the Institution of Professional Civil Servants, the scientists’ trade union. Wiener interview, op. cit. (50); Alan Archibald interviewed by Grahame Bulfield, 10 November 2014, EUA CA15/5, ‘Towards Dolly’ Oral Histories.

56 Redfearn Judy, ‘Endangered duo’, Nature (1981) 294, p. 685; anon., ‘Agriculture researchers face the dole’, New Scientist (24–31 December 1981) 92(1285–1286), p. 851.

57 The bodies whose representatives offered comments in defense of ABRO were the National Cattle Breeders’ Association, the National Sheep Association, the National Pig Breeders’ Association, the Pig Improvement Company, the Meat and Livestock Commission, the Milk Marketing Board and the Hereford Herdbook. Harry Hope, ‘Research Council wields its axe’, Farmers Weekly, 18 December 1981, pp. 32–33.

58 Hope, op. cit. (57) , p. 32.

59 15 Parl. Deb. H.C. (6th ser.) (1981–82), pp. 694–706, 703.

60 Lord Porchester (chairman of ARC) to Sir Geoffrey Howe (Chancellor of the Exchequer), 23 March 1982, TNA: T 494/80 Agricultural Research Council, review of agricultural and organisational policy. The Treasury civil servants reacted to the letter from Lord Porchester with confusion, and understood that he was reaching out to Howe in his capacity as an MP who had expressed interest in the ARC, not as the Chancellor.

61 ARC, The Future Programmes and Structure of the Animal Breeding Research Organisation and the Long Ashton Research Station, London: Agricultural Research Council, 1982 ; ARC, op. cit. (24).

62 Redfearn Judy, ‘Agricultural Research Council savings plans’, Nature (1982) 296, p. 484.

63 Wiener to King, 28 January 1982, ‘Gerald Wiener – photocopied documents relating to ABRO reorganisation (1980)’, Coll-1701, ‘Papers of Gerald Wiener’, Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, University of Edinburgh.

64 ‘Report compiled by Gerald Wiener for ARC’, n.d., ‘Gerald Wiener – photocopied documents’, op. cit. (63).

65 Wiener interview, op. cit. (50); Dunlop, op. cit. (14), pp. 164–168.

66 Hill William G., ‘Obituary: Roger Burton Land’, Royal Society of Edinburgh Yearbook (1989) Session 1987–88, pp. 6162 .

67 ARC, op. cit. (61), paragraph 8.

68 Director's report for the 1980 visiting group to ABRO, Box 14, BBSRC archives, p. 9.

69 On the origins of molecular biology see Abir-Am Pnina G., ‘Themes, genres and orders of legitimation in the consolidation of new scientific disciplines: deconstructing the historiography of molecular biology’, History of Science (1985) 23, pp. 73117 ; de Chadarevian, op. cit. (18).

70 Harold M. Schmeck Jr, ‘3 at Yale report key transplants of genes to mice’, New York Times, 3 September 1980, p. A1.

71 The October 1980 meeting is mentioned in Wiener's ‘Report compiled for the ARC’, op. cit. (64). The programme of the second Meeting on Genetic Engineering in Domestic Animals, April 1981, is in Conference Literature 1981, Add. 83883, Anne McLaren papers, British Library, London.

72 Stephanie Yanchinski, ‘Opening the Pandora's box of biology’, New Scientist, 11 September 1980, p. 763; Gordon Jon W., Scangos George A., Plotkin Diane J., Barbosa James A. and Ruddle Frank H., ‘Genetic transformation of mouse embryos by microinjection of purified DNA’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (1980) 77, pp. 73807384 .

73 Dmitriy Myelnikov, ‘Transforming mice: technique and communication in the making of transgenic animals, 1974–1988’, PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, 2015, available at www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253309.

74 King, op. cit. (13), p. 288.

75 Wiener, ‘Report compiled for the ARC’, op. cit. (64).

76 John Bishop and Richard Lathe interviewed by the author on 1 March 2016 in Edinburgh.

77 Hammer Robert E., Pursel Vernon G., Rexroad Caird E., Wall Robert J., Bolt Douglas J., Ebert Karl M., Palmiter Richard D. and Brinster Ralph L., ‘Production of transgenic rabbits, sheep and pigs by microinjection’, Nature (1985) 315(6021), pp. 680683 .

78 Rick Lathe, ‘Molecular tailoring of the farm animal germline’, ‘Animal Breeding Research Organisation Report – 1985’, EUA IN23/1/1/2, Roslin papers, pp. 7–10.

79 García-Sancho, op. cit. (2).

80 De Chadarevian, op. cit. (8).

81 Wilmut interview, op. cit. (50); Myelnikov and García-Sancho, op. cit. (2), p. 1. Paul Simons had moved to ABRO from the MRC Mammalian Genomes Unit at the University of Edinburgh. A young researcher, Paul Simons had also been recruited to work with Wilmut and perform the hands-on embryonic manipulation.

82 Archibald interview, op. cit. (55).

83 Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC), Corporate Plan, 1984–88, London: Agricultural and Food Research Council, 1983, p i.

84 AFRC, op. cit. (83), p. iii.

85 Roger Land, ‘Comment’, ‘Animal Breeding Research Organisation Report – 1985’, EUA IN23/1/1/2, Roslin papers, p. 4.

86 Land, op. cit. (85), p. 5.

87 Maienschein Jane, ‘Cutting edges cut both ways’, Biology and Philosophy (1994) 9, pp. 124 .

88 Universities were, on average, to lose 15 per cent of the block grant over three years, but a further 2 per cent cut was imposed in 1983. While the UGC cuts targeted universities as institutions – part of Thatcher's campaign to reform higher education and attack professional autonomy – one unintended consequence was a blow to university science. Walford Geoffrey, ‘The privatisation of British higher education’, European Journal of Education (1988) 23, pp. 4764 ; Wilkie, op. cit. (3), pp. 99–102.

89 House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, op. cit. (46), pp. 61–72.

90 Given the gravity of the situation, ABRC took the unprecedented step of publishing this document: Advisory Board for the Research Councils (ABRC), The Science Budget: A Forward Look, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1982 . See also Ince, op. cit. (3), pp. 37–60.

91 Cooper-Lybrand, a consulting firm, criticized poor monitoring of outcomes and revived the case for moving all ARC research to MAFF. Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development insisted the ARC change direction to support more food research, and the council changed its name to Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) to reflect the change in 1983. The House of Commons Select Committee on Agriculture, the Joint Consultative Organisation and the ABRC criticized the double ARC/MAFF bureaucracy as duplicating its effort. The government struggled to respond to all the reports in time, and opinion was split over how to proceed.

92 In the Treasury's position note for the financial secretary, the £170–180 million annual expenditure on agricultural research was described as ‘too high at the time of rising agricultural surpluses’. G.M. Binns to Michael Faulkner, ‘Agricultural Research’, 25 November 1983, TNA: T494/139: Agricultural Research Council: Review of agricultural and organisational policy, p. 7. On the Common Agricultural Policy and food surpluses see Martin John, The Development of Modern Agriculture: British Farming since 1931, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000, pp. 133166 ; Capstick Charles W., ‘British agricultural policy under the CAP’, in Ritson Christopher and Harvey David (eds.), The Common Agricultural Policy and the World Economy, Wallingford: CAB International, 1991, pp. 7187 .

93 G.M. Binns to Bostock, ‘Agricultural Research Council: Future’, 1 November 1983, TNA: T 494/80 Agricultural Research Council: Review of agricultural and organisational policy. The option to privatize ARC institutes was left open, and followed in the late 1980s.

94 Mark Dodgson, Celltech: The First Ten Years of a Biotechnology Company, Brighton: Science and Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, 1990; de Chadarevian, op. cit. (8).

95 Monoclonal antibodies are highly specific antibodies that are made in multiple identical immune cells. They were developed at the LMB in Cambridge by César Milstein and Georges Köhler in 1975. The case for patenting was presented to the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), which decided against patenting, citing lack of clear applications. In 1979, scientists at the Philadelphia-based Wistar Institute received a US patent on the making of monoclonal antibodies against tumours and viral parts. Thatcher became a vehement critic of NRDC's failure to secure intellectual property. See de Chadarevian, op. cit. (18), pp. 353–362; de Chadarevian, op. cit. (8); Marks, op. cit. (6), esp. pp. 25–46; see also Marks's online exhibition, ‘The story of César Milstein and Monoclonal Antibodies’, at www.whatisbiotechnology.org/exhibitions/milstein, accessed 21 July 2017.

96 Beardsley Tim, ‘Plant biotechnology: UK company's delayed budding’, Nature (1983) 304, p. 296. The Treasury papers regarding the origins of the Agricultural Biotechnology Company are in TNA: T494/137 Agricultural Research Council proposed agricultural genetics company.

97 Huzair Farah and Sturdy Steve, ‘Biotechnology and the transformation of vaccine innovation: the case of the hepatitis B vaccines, 1968–2000’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2017) 64, pp. 1121 .

98 Iain Shirlaw, personal communication; Bishop and Lathe interview, op. cit. (76); Newmark Peter, ‘Protein production in transgenic animals’, Nature Biotechnology (1987) 5, p. 874.

99 Roger Land, memorandum, 11 March 1987, ‘File relating to collaboration with PPL on sheep work, 1987–1990’, EUA IN23/3/4/1/4, Roslin papers.

100 Graham Turnbull to John Clark, November 1988, ‘File relating to collaboration with PPL on sheep work, 1987–1990’, EUA IN23/3/4/1/4, Roslin papers.

101 ‘File re: TAP grants, 1988–91’, EUA IN23/3/3/1/2, Roslin papers.

102 Read Nicholas, ‘The “near market” concept applied to UK agricultural research’, Science and Public Policy (1989) 16, pp. 233238 ; Wilkie, op. cit. (3), pp. 98–99.

103 Webster Andrew, ‘Privatisation of public sector research: the case of a plant breeding institute’, Science and Public Policy (1989) 16, pp. 224232 ; Palladino, op. cit. (3), pp. 64–8.

104 ARC, op. cit. (38); Blundell Tom, ‘Agricultural research: 60 years of achievement’, Science in Parliament (1991) 48, pp. 2328 . In addition, in 1981 the ARC supported four university units and the Soil Survey of England and Wales, and made grants to the London Zoo, Wye College Department of Hop Research, the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux and the Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre.

105 García-Sancho, op. cit. (2).

106 Franklin, op. cit. (2), p. 43.

I wish to thank Miguel García-Sancho, Dominic Berry, Robert Bud, Clare Button, Andrew Clarke, Isabel Fletcher, Nick Hopwood and Steve Sturdy for their thoughtful comments on various drafts, as well as the two anonymous peer reviewers for their generous and highly constructive feedback. Grahame Bulfield kindly shared his memories and expertise during this project, and Clare Button and Peter Hurrell offered much-appreciated assistance with the Roslin Institute and BBSRC archives respectively. This research and the writing of this article were made possible by the Historicising Dolly grant at the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject group, University of Edinburgh (PI Miguel García-Sancho), funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Edinburgh, and by the Wellcome Trust Investigator Award on Managing Multispecies Medicine (PI Rob Kirk) at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester, grant number 106639/Z/14/Z.

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Abstract views

Total abstract views: 259 *
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* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 17th November 2017 - 12th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.