Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: towards a circular bioeconomy for precious metal recovery and textiles

Apply for funding to use biotechnological solutions that reduce environmental impact in either the textile industry or the recovery of precious metals.

You must be:

  • lecturer level or above
  • based at a UK research organisation eligible for BBSRC funding.

You may be an early career researcher.

The opportunity aims to:

  • effectively reuse resources, reducing the need for new fossil-based inputs
  • reduce the environmental footprint of processes via switching to bio-based alternatives
  • build in the recovery of materials at end of life.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £375,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project can last up to 24 months.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

The funding opportunity will open on 26 May 2022. More information will be available on this page by then.

What we're looking for

A circular bioeconomy encourages the recovery, reuse, and sustainable management of biological resources. The adoption of such an approach can help tackle challenges like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollution, with consequent impacts on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Intelligent use of industrial biotechnology, biorefining, and engineering biology in combination with green physico-chemical approaches has the power to address many of the issues needed to develop a circular and environmentally sustainable economy.

We welcome applications that apply biotechnological solutions to offer circularity and environmental impact reduction in one of two key areas:

  • precious metal recovery
  • textile manufacturing and recycling.

For both areas, this opportunity aims to:

  • effectively reuse resources, reducing the need for new fossil-based inputs and reducing waste
  • reduce the environmental footprint of processes via switching to bio-based alternatives
  • build in the recovery of materials at end of life, facilitating remediation and minimising environmental impacts.

For the chosen area, proposals should address one or more of the challenges detailed.

Proposals need to demonstrate a move away from the current linear system towards a circular system where materials and resources are reused.

Precious metal recovery

We are interested in applications that utilise biotechnology to:

  • develop or improve precious, base, and rare earth metal recovery from e-waste, mining, battery, and other industrial wastes
  • enable the development of sustainable routes to produce high value products from recovered metals of significant industrial potential using industrial biotechnology, biorefining, and engineering biology. For example, biometallic catalysts for industrial application
  • explore the feasibility of economic scales of operation and understand biogenic metal recycling’s role in the circular economy, including life-cycle assessment consideration.

Textile manufacturing and recycling

We are interested in applications that use biotechnological approaches to develop:

  • novel, sustainable and renewable textile polymers and fibres
  • sustainable approaches to textile dyeing and finishing
  • routes to recycle end of life textiles.

We encourage proposals that feature interactions with other disciplines but the main aim of any project must be to develop and utilise biotechnological processes.

This funding opportunity focuses on circular approaches. The breeding of natural fibres (such as cotton and hemp) to improve their sustainability would be out of scope.

A detailed scope will be available when the full funding opportunity is published.

Projects must start by 1 February 2023.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

Further guidance will be available when the full funding opportunity is published.

You should ensure you are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Webinars

We are holding two webinars for prospective applicants to this funding opportunity where we will provide further guidance on:

  • the scope
  • background
  • how to apply.

Register for the following dates:

The webinars will feature the same content.

Attendance is not mandatory. This information will also be included in the published funding opportunity guidance if you are unable to attend the webinars. A recording of the webinar will be made available.

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity

Circular economies team, BBSRC

Email: circulareconomies@bbsrc.ukri.org

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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