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.
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.