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UK Government funds cutting edge Scottish biotech scientists

Wednesday November 4th, 2020

Pioneering researchers at the University of Edinburgh will benefit from a £477,015 cash boost of UK Government funding to use cutting edge biotechnology to produce high-value chemicals.

The projects seek to use ingenious scientific methods to bring chemical products to market, many with sustainable manufacturing practices. This could result in lower carbon emissions and meet consumer demand for more sustainable products, moving away from using fossil-based carbon.

Academic institutions have teamed with commercial partners in this programme, to propose new ways of producing products for the vital UK chemical industry. Partners are offering financial support, or in-kind contributions such as materials, facilities and equipment.

This sector of the economy generates £9bn gross value added (GVA) per year and employs 105,000 people.

The funding has been awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under its Industrial Biotechnology for Improving Production of Higher Value Chemicals programme.

Across the UK, up to £2m was available for grants to support short collaborative projects of between 12 to 24 months with a value up to £250,000.

The project led by Professor Louise Horsfall, with commercial partners Unilever, Ingenza and Diageo, is focusing on using biocatalysts in industrial processes, which is expected to boost the sustainable production of chemicals, materials and fuels from renewable resources.

Bio-based processes will make a major contribution to the development of unique and sustainable new products, derived from waste and by-products.

The project led by Professor Gary Loake, with industrial partner Green Bioactives, will establish a sustainable, biomanufacturing platform for World Health Organisation (WHO) essential medicine that is currently produced largely by unsustainable manufacturing practices which also generate toxic by-products.

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