Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: New strategic approaches to industrial biotechnology

BBSRC has identified industrial biotechnology in its strategic plan as a priority area to reduce dependency on petrochemicals and help the UK to become a low carbon economy, contributing to the targets for reducing emission of greenhouse gases.

Budget:
BBSRC’s standard research grant provides up to £2 million for projects in this priority area.
Duration:
The standard research grant is an ongoing scheme. Projects can last up to five years.
Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

Industrial biotechnology is a set of cross-disciplinary technologies that use biological resources for producing and processing materials and chemicals for non-food applications. These resources can be derived from the tissues, enzymes and genes of plants, algae, marine life, fungi and microorganisms.

BBSRC has identified industrial biotechnology in its strategic plan as a high level strategic priority area for five years as a way of helping to reduce dependency on petrochemicals and helping the UK to become a low carbon economy, thus contributing to the targets for reducing emissions of green-house gases.

Initial analysis of BBSRC’s research and training portfolio suggests a need to build capacity and capability to undertake basic and strategic research in industrial biotechnology in the future.

Research grant proposal areas

UK industry requires more basic and strategic research to underpin the development of innovative manufacturing routes to prepare high-value chemicals, industrial chemicals or platform chemicals from renewable feedstocks.

Research grant proposals should therefore address three areas.

New approaches to the production of high-value chemicals

New approaches to support the application of whole cell and enzymatic systems to the production of high-value chemicals (including recombinant DNA biologics and antimicrobial compounds), industrial chemicals and platform chemicals. Proposals should involve the application of systems and synthetic biology approaches to reach these goals.

They may also include the incorporation of existing approaches drawn from other disciplines such as chemistry, engineering and mathematics.

Developing new biocatalytic entities and pathways

Innovative approaches to develop new biocatalytic entities and pathways (for example in the production of specific chemicals from biomass through novel pathways and prevention of the inactivation of the biocatalyst or pathway by toxic products).

Increasing the production of high value chemicals from plants

New approaches to increase the production of high value chemicals from plants, and to improve their processability, with a particular focus on the translation of fundamental plant science (including knowledge from model plants such as Arabidopsis) into more non-food plants for industry.

Why we're doing it

BBSRC aims to support the development of new sustainable approaches to the generation of materials and chemicals and their incorporation into manufacturing, using renewable resources rather than fossil hydrocarbon sources and utilising biological processes.

In order for this to be realised in the future, BBSRC will need to contribute to increasing:

  • UK’s capacity to undertake basic and strategic research in industrial biotechnology through increasing the critical mass of trained staff in UK universities and institutes
  • opportunities for collaboration with industry, allowing the translation of basic discoveries ultimately into new products and processes.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Funding opportunities

Find out more about applying for funding and what to include in your application.

Who to contact

You can contact any of these people

Chloe Heywood

Email: nibb@bbsrc.ukri.org

Telephone: 01793 413337

Rod Westrop

Email: nibb@bbsrc.ukri.org

Telephone: 01793 413332

Colin Miles

Email:colin.miles@bbsrc.ukri.org

Telephone: 01793 413359

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