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£12.5 million investment creates a National Biofilms Innovation Centre for both business and research

Copyright: University of Southampton

Launched today, the UK National Biofilms Innovation Centre (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.

NBIC is a major, £12.5 million five year investment which forms a key part of The UK Biofilms Programme which is led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Innovate UK. The investment is supported further through an in-kind contribution of up to £1 million worth of access to the High Performance Computing facilities from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Copyright: University of Southampton
Biofilm research at the University of Southampton. Copyright: University of Southampton

Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “By better understanding biofilms and how we can manage and engineer them, we can influence ongoing scientific discoveries in medical diagnosis and treatment and improve environmental protection.

“This new centre is an excellent collaboration between research councils, Innovate UK and universities, and with our commitment to invest an additional £2.3 billion for R&D in 2021-22, we are ensuring that our world leading researchers get the support they need and continue to thrive through our Industrial Strategy.”

Biofilms are a community of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces, such as plaque on teeth. Microorganisms that form biofilms include bacteria and fungi and because biofilms are everywhere they present a range of different challenges and opportunities to a diversity of industries from agriculture to healthcare.

Melanie Welham, Chief Executive of BBSRC said: “The Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre is a first of its kind representing a £12.5 million investment from BBSRC and Innovate UK, with matched resource from industry. This is a unique opportunity which brings together businesses and researchers. In partnership they will create a hub for sharing knowledge and experience to accelerate the commercialisation of world-class science and emerging technologies into new products, processes and services.”

The new centre will advance biofilm science and innovation by bringing together those at the cutting edge of research with innovators in business to better understand how to manage, detect and engineer biofilms.

The National Biofilms Innovation Centre will be led by a consortia of four universities and their industrial partners: University of Southampton, University of Liverpool, The University of Edinburgh and The University of Nottingham.



BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.


UK Research and Innovation Media Office

Tags: industrial biotechnology innovation research facilities press release