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UK's bioscience base receives £16.6 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment

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News from: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

BBSRC has received an additional £16.6 million from the government’s flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to develop new agricultural technologies and industrial bioprocesses to underpin a more successful bioeconomy.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “This significant investment will support pioneering bioscience research and development projects that will reduce our reliance on carbon, boost the productivity of our nation’s crops and develop new world-leading agricultural technologies.”

Copyright: BBSRC
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson. Copyright: BBSRC

The funded projects will de-risk innovative ideas arising from academia and industry for the development of transformative new technologies, processes and practices to advance the production of food, chemicals, materials and energy.

  • Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst: Seeding and Feasibility - the project supports the UK being a world-leader in industrial biotechnology by enhancing access to innovative products and processes, reducing reliance on ‘fossil’ Carbon and helping to meet climate change targets
  • Agri-Food Technology Catalyst: Seeding and Feasibility - the project will contribute to increasing productivity, sustainability and resilience of the UK's Agri-Food sector whilst maintaining food security and export opportunities post-Brexit
  • Smart Crop Protection: Increasing Supply-Chain Resilience - the project will improve crop productivity by using the latest technology to detect, monitor, predict and control pests, weeds and diseases of crops.

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Chief Executive said: “Bioscience continues to push the frontiers of knowledge and understanding, providing ample opportunities to address the challenges we face in food security and energy and also to transform the UK's future bioeconomy.”

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) builds on the UK’s world-class research and innovation base and seeks to deliver innovative solutions to address the needs of business, transforming existing industries and creating new ones. It seeks to accelerate commercial exploitation of the most exciting technologies the UK has to offer the world to ensure that scientific investment drives productivity and truly delivers economic impact, jobs and growth right across the country.

The ISCF is delivered by Innovate UK and Research Councils UK, and eventually UK Research and Innovation, the single voice for the UK’s research and innovation landscape.


About Rothamsted Research

Rothamsted Research is the oldest agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices. Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of our economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK exceeds £3000 million a year (Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence, by Séan Rickard, 2015). Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, supported by unique capabilities and interdisciplinary teams, and strengthened by partnerships. Rothamsted is home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform. We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry.


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 £473 million in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. 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: policy funding industry research BBSRC press release