First-ever Bioeconomy Week shines spotlight on Scotland’s climate change fight


THE important role of the burgeoning biotechnology community in the race against climate change will be highlighted next week with the launch of Bioeconomy Week (3rd – 7th October), a first-of-its-kind festival to promote Scotland as a prime location for international research and business growth.

Hosted by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), a series of activities will take place throughout the week demonstrating Scotland’s expertise across the bioeconomy and biotechnology sector – an industry central to the development of more sustainable materials and products by using bio-based alternatives to petrochemicals.

Scotland’s National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology was refreshed earlier this year to reflect the growth of the biotechnology community to date. The sector is exceeding initial targets set out in the original strategy and on track to achieve an annual turnover of £1.2bn by 2025.

The Bioeconomy Week programme includes opportunities to hear from bio-led businesses such as Grampian Growers and Impact Solutions, as well as sessions focused on areas such as bioplastics, agriculture and avenues for reusing bio-based waste.

A highlight of the week is Bioeconomy Day, with IBioiC chair Dame Anne Glover hosting a panel discussion between Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee; Jim Laird, CEO of food tech and sustainable protein start-up ENOUGH; and Derek Stewart, director of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre at the James Hutton Institute.

Events have also been planned by the University of Edinburgh, offering a tour of their genome-assembling robots and a chance to speak to experts in plant biotechnology; Zero Waste Scotland, focusing on the opportunities around biochar[1]; and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, highlighting some of the specific opportunities and successes of the region.

Mark Bustard, chief executive of IBioIC, said: “The first Bioeconomy Week will place an important spotlight on the bioeconomy and the crucial role it can play in making our world a more sustainable place. Scotland has a community of creative and passionate entrepreneurs, a vibrant base of start up companies, and world class research and facilities. We need to celebrate our success and encourage even more innovation in green technologies that will help Scotland play its part in addressing the climate emergency.

“The range of companies and partner organisations we have joined up with for the showcase next week reflects the diverse make up of the sector. There are opportunities and applications for biotechnology across so many industries, from agriculture and whisky production to energy and pharmaceuticals.

“To support future growth of the bioeconomy, however, there needs to be greater focus on skills development, investment in infrastructure to help companies scale up, and the delivery of a supportive policy and regulatory framework. We hope that increased awareness of and exposure to what is happening in Scotland, through activities like Bioeconomy Week, will further support for the sector’s development in Scotland and help foster new relationships and projects.”

To find out more about the Bioeconomy Week programme, visit:

[1] Biochar is the lightweight black residue, made of carbon and ashes, remaining after the pyrolysis (heating in the absence of oxygen) of biomass.

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