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Building a low carbon future: £11m to fund Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy Networks announced

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News from: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
News from: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Moving to a low carbon economy in the coming decades requires a shift from using fossil resources to provide power, fuel, chemicals and materials.

BBSRC, with the support of EPSRC, have committed £11 million to fund 6 unique collaborative Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB) to support, encourage, and facilitate this essential work.

From seaweed to metals, these multidisciplinary networks will drive new ideas to harness the potential of biological resources for producing and processing materials, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy.

Steve Bagshaw, Chair of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum, said “These networks are testament to the success of NIBB Phase I in harnessing the UK’s world-leading industrial biotechnology. It is through industrial biotechnology that we are able to create new processes and products that are more sustainable and far better for the environment. I’m excited to see what NIBB Phase II will do to tackle the global challenges facing us all.”

BBSRC’s Executive Chair, Professor Melanie Welham, said “This substantial investment into NIBB Phase II reflects the determination we have to secure a cleaner, greener, and a more sustainable future. As part of UK Research and Innovation, BBSRC continues to invest in industrial biotechnology research that underpins these networks, and will pave the way for novel and game-changing industrial processes and products.”

In 2014, BBSRC funded 13 Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB). Based on the outstanding achievements of these Networks, in 2018, BBSRC Executive agreed to support a second phase of networking activities in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.

The second phase of the BBSRC NIBB will continue to build capacity and capability in the UK supporting research and translation in biologically based manufacturing, with the aim of continuing to foster collaboration between academic researchers and business at all levels, in order to find new approaches though excellent research to tackle research challenges and help deliver key benefits in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy.

The 6 Networks are:

Network Principal investigator
Algae-UK: Exploiting the algal treasure trove Professor Saul Purton University College London
Biomass Biorefinery Network (BBNet) Professor Simon McQueen Mason, University of York
Carbon Recycling: Converting waste derived GHG into chemicals, fuels and animal feed (CCNet) ) Professor Nigel Minton, University of Nottingham
Elements of Bioremediation, Biomanufacturing & Bioenergy (E3B) Metals in Biology Professor Nigel Robinson, Durham University
Environmental Biotechnology Network (EBNet) Professor Sonia Heaven, University of Southampton
High Value Biorenewables (HVB) Network Professor Ian Graham, University of York

The Networks will run from 2019 to 2024, will provide flexible funding for Proof of Concept projects, and are open to new members through-out their lifetime.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

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


UK Research and Innovation Media Office

Tags: networks NIBB industrial biotechnology funding BBSRC press release