Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced continued funding for the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst for major, challenge-led research projects in industrial biotechnology (IB). The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK have committed to offer up to £40M (£20M, £10M and £10M respectively).
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Whether it's creating sustainable plastics or allergy-free products this new funding will help our talented biotech innovators continue to bring renewable, sustainable ideas to market. Government is committed to supporting this emerging sector and the additional £40M will help cement the UK's position as a world leader in this sector."
The funding will be available through the IB Catalyst, launched in January 2014 to provide funds to support application-focused, integrated cross-disciplinary research projects involving collaborations between the academic and business communities.
This commitment secures the catalyst for a further two rounds (2015-16). Applications close for round two* on 10 December but this new support means that a third and fourth round of funding applications will be possible from 11 December 2014 at interact.innovateuk.org.
Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director, Innovation and Skills, said: "This is the next step in our investment plans for industrial biotechnology research and application in the UK. It will help us to support the full potential of the sector and its contribution towards economic growth and new jobs. With new and efficient manufacturing using biological processes we can shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable, sustainable approaches.
"This funding secures the next two rounds of the IB Catalyst for research and technology projects to boost the sector."
The research projects will support industries using biological processes, or processes in which biological and chemical approaches are used in combination, such as: the production of biopharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical intermediates, speciality and commodity chemicals, plastics, resins, silks and flavours. It will also provide vital knowledge for the production of liquid and gaseous biofuels, and improved processes to improve efficiency in industrial biotechnology applications.
More information on the catalyst can be found here: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/collaborative-research/tsb-competitions/ib-catalyst.aspx
*For more information on Round 2 of the IB Catalyst which is open until 10th December 2014, please click here for early-stage feasibility studies and here for late-stage pre-experimental feasibility studies.