A night to celebrate the official launch of the Department of Biology

It’s been an exciting year for Biology in Oxford as the new department was merged from the former Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology. The new Department of Biology represents a significant move for the University and its work to foster interdisciplinary, collaborative, and innovative research in the biosciences. 

Last night was a chance to celebrate the hard work leading to the creation of the new Department. The evening - held in the beautiful atrium of the Weston Library in central Oxford - brought together nearly 250 guests from across the new Department and the wider University. 

Research from across the five new Research Sections were on display throughout the night as a departmental showcase of ongoing projects provided immersive experiences for guests.  

Alongside researchers, in attendance were an Amazonian giant lilypad, a micro-colony of bumblebees, heat-sensing drones, real-time genome sequencing, centuries-old herbarium specimens, and regenerating flatworms, all of which had a presence in ongoing departmental research The event was also a chance to show off the 4-year MBiol course and DPhil training programme, and the experiences and opportunities open to students as part of them. 

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson was there to deliver the opening speech, officially welcoming in the new Department to the University of Oxford, and recognising the past, present and future of biosciences at Oxford. Joint Heads of Department, Professors E.J. Milner-Gulland and Mark Fricker, also spoke about the dynamic history of Department, and exciting bright future of research and training that the Department now has under the banner of Biology. 

E J Milner-Gulland delivers a speech at a lectern

© John Cairns 2022

“It’s been an honour to have played our part drawing together two former Departments, with their long and illustrious histories of academic and educational achievement. We are looking forward to building on joint and separate strengths to shape the future of biology as a discipline, answering fundamental questions and addressing global challenges.  

“Thank you to all those who are sharing this journey with us, as we celebrate our past and look forward to our future together.” 

Joint Heads of Department E.J. Milner-Gulland and Mark Fricker 

Mark Fricker with his left hand up delivers a speech at a lectern

© John Cairns 2022