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UK Biofilms Programme

Copyright: Fernan Federici and Jim Haseloff, Wellcome Images on Flickr by CC 2.0

The UK National Biofilms Innovation Centre

As part of the second phase of the UK Biofilms Programme, BBSRC and Innovate UK have awarded a five year investment of £12.5 million to a partnership of four lead universities to establish the National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC). NBIC is led by The University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, The University of Nottingham, and University of Southampton. The UKRI investment also includes an in-kind contribution of up to £1 million worth of access to the High Performance Computing facilities within the Hartree Centre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory.

Launched in November 2017, NBIC plans to enhance our understanding of biofilms, help overcome the challenges they present across industry sectors, and enable greater exploitation of the science and commercial opportunities they represent.

If you would like further information or are interested in working with the NBIC, please contact the team via their website (see external links).


Together with Innovate UK we are developing a programme which aims to foster and support the UK research base and industry in taking a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to the exploitation and advancement of biofilm science and technology.

The programme consists of a number of different funding opportunities which support work across the translation chain to nucleate a multidisciplinary, multisectoral community.

In December 2014 we held a strategic biofilms workshop to:

  • understand how the challenges and opportunities relate to precompetitive and business growth
  • obtain further commitment from industry.

The workshop built on the premise that biofilms create major challenges and opportunities for businesses operating across a myriad of industries, but that understanding and manipulating them remains very challenging.

In the past decade there have been significant advances in underpinning bioscience research that can now be built upon, harnessed and applied to the multidisciplinary opportunities and challenges of biofilms. This duality presents the UK research base and industry with an exciting and timely chance for scientific, economic, societal and commercial reward.

Scientific objectives

The UK Biofilms Programme will support businesses and academia in the exploitation and advancement of biofilm science and technology. The initial areas the programme is likely to focus on are as follows:

  • Development of biofilm management technologies
  • Understanding biofilms through rapid, functional characterisation.

Full details can be found in the biofilms strategic opportunity (see downloads).

Equality impact assessment

As part of the Biofilms programme we are required to analyse our activities using an Equality Impact Assessment table. UK Research and Innovation: Action Plan for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (PDF) sets out the commitment to ensure that we examine, identify and remove the impact of unintentional bias and barriers to participation in our funding processes and decision making activities.

UK Biofilms Programme: Equality impact assessment (PDF 68KB)

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Outcomes from the 2015 competition

  • BBSRC and Innovate UK supported 21 industry-led feasibility R&D projects
  • BBSRC funding specifically supported 11 projects with a total BBSRC spend of £385,214

Header image copyright: Fernan Federici and Jim Haseloff, Wellcome Images by CC 2.0

Related calls: collaboration commercialisation industrial biotechnology innovation knowledge exchange microbes multidisciplinary national capabilities partnerships research technologies skills and training synthetic biology systems biology biofilms