£11.5m bioinnovation boost set to transform UK manufacturing

UKRI is backing 21 cross-sector collaborations designed to spark innovation, commercialisation and growth in UK sustainable biomanufacturing.

When it comes to manufacturing, the UK is one of the biggest players on the world stage.

Spanning a wide variety of sub-sectors, the almost three million strong manufacturing workforce generates a staggering 16.68% of the UK’s gross domestic product.

Needless to say, the manufacturing sector is critical to economy and society alike.

But it comes at a cost. An environmental cost. Because this mammoth sector produces 14% of all UK carbon emissions, making it the third largest emitting sector in the UK.

The power of biology

This latest investment from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK will harness the collective expertise of industry and academia.

It will develop novel solutions that drive advancements in sustainable biomanufacturing.

The 21 collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects will leverage the power of biology to unlock innovative products and processes that are both scalable and sustainable.

Challenge areas

Each project will address one or more of the following challenge areas:

  • increasing the use of bio-based feedstocks
  • developing alternative bio-based chemical replacements
  • enhancing the sustainability profile of biotechnology processes
  • innovative use and reuse of renewable feedstocks
  • establishing biotechnology-based manufacturing processes for sustainable and circular products

Clean and competitive

The 21 projects being announced form part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) wider sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture programme.

This programme of strategic investments will enhance the UK’s global competitiveness by supporting research and innovation that leads to new and disruptive biomanufacturing processes across the UK.

It follows 34 feasibility studies announced in April 2023.

Given the impact manufacturing currently has on UK carbon emissions, the programme will also bolster the UK’s drive to net zero by 2050.

A pivotal moment for UK manufacturing

Dr Lee Beniston FRSB, Associate Director for Industry Partnerships and Collaborative R&D at BBSRC, said:

These projects, supported by an £11.5 million joint investment through BBSRC, EPSRC and Innovate UK, will bring together researchers and businesses to develop innovative, more sustainable biomanufacturing solutions across many industries and sectors in the UK.

This investment will support cutting-edge, collaborative research and development, enabling businesses to bring new technologies to market faster whilst enhancing the UK’s position as a global leader in sustainable manufacturing.

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