New funding to support growth of Scotland’s bioeconomy


NEW funding has been made available by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) to help grow Scotland’s bioeconomy with the latest tranche of its innovation fund now open for proposals.

Awards of up to £100,000 will be made to support collaborative projects that can deliver measurable economic, societal or environmental impact, using industrial biotechnology techniques to develop new processes and materials. Research teams must include partners from both academia and industry, and demonstrate a clear route to market for the technologies and products being developed.

Published in March, the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation highlighted industrial biotechnology as a key sector for decarbonisation and the transition to net zero, with opportunities for Scotland to become a world leader.

The current call for projects is the sixth time IBioIC has awarded funding through its flagship Innovation Fund. Initiatives that have secured funding previously include a wide range of industrial biotechnology applications – from low-carbon construction materials made from bacteria to  lithium-ion batteries derived from seaweed.

IBioIC said that while any area of industrial biotechnology will be considered for funding, it is particularly interested to hear from projects focused on agriculture and food and drink for this latest round. Teams have until 1st September to submit proposals, with projects expected to start in early 2023.

To date, the innovation centre has supported more than 200 companies to bring new bio-based processes and products to the global market, generating additional industry investment of almost £30 million and contributing to more than 3,000 high-value green jobs.

Liz Fletcher, director of business engagement at IBioIC, said: “Industrial biotechnology offers a more sustainable way to produce a wide range of products and processes, using bio-based raw materials combined with scientific expertise as an alternative to fossil fuels. Scotland has an opportunity to become a leader in the biotechnology field – particuarly as we transition to net zero – and our role as an innovation centre is to support companies to take concepts and ideas to the next stage of becoming reality. 

“Collaboration is central to the growth of the bioeconomy and successful projects in this funding call will benefit from access to facilities, additional support, and business development advice, alongside the valuable financial investment. IBioIC’s network spans many different sectors critical to Scotland’s economy and we hope to see a wide range of potential applications of industrial biotechnology reflected in the applications we receive.”

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