The Edinburgh International Science Festival is a brilliant idea. To bring the secrets of science into public knowledge and both to young people and grownups.
The festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has established followers from all around the world. It has been supported with great assistance from the City Council and Universities - but in the beginning the idea of was challenged, some people even thought it was impossible. But that is not unusual and new ideas should always be challenged. Not all ideas like this will survive, but this one definitely has survived and is now thriving more than ever.
On Tuesday (3 April) night Edinburgh BioQuarter sponsored an event at Summerhall with the theme “from bench to bedside and beyond". Scientists and clinicians from across BioQuarter were telling the packed house about the world-leading research in regenerative medicine (particularly Parkinson's and MS) and how it could progress into changing the lives of patients. There are lots of challenges but there are also many promising signs.
One question I found interesting during the panel debate was around the role the media has to play in life sciences discoveries. In one way it is essential that the media writes about scientific progress, especially since most of the initial funding usually comes from the public purse. But on the other hand sensationalised reporting can raise unrealistic expectations and the hopes of many millions of patients.
From the early discovery of a potential new drug to treatment on the market takes on average 12 years. This is because lots of safety requirements and testing is required. But wouldn't it be great if the development time could be cut, with every week or month saved resulting in more people getting better - and more money then reinvested in even more new treatments.
Edinburgh BioQuarter is here to support and facilitate scientists and entrepreneurs in doing just that. Our Health and Science Park will continue to grow in terms of physical developments, but it is the work that goes on inside these buildings through our amazing people which is most important. Our aspiration is to help support them to achieve their goals of revolutionising health and wellbeing in the future.