ENP Newswire -
Release date- 18122013 -
Four of 13 new networks, announced today (18 December) by
Universities and Science Minister
'These networks will unlock the huge potential of biotechnology and bioenergy, such as finding innovative ways to use leftover food, and creating chemicals from plant cells.'
The new networks pool skills from academia and business to develop research projects with the potential to overcome major challenges. Manchester will lead on the:
.Bioprocessing Network: BioProNET directed by Professor
.IBCarb - Glycoscience Tools for Biotechnology and
.Natural Products Discovery and Bioengineering Network (NPRONET) directed by Professor
.Network in Biocatalyst Discovery, Development and Scale-Up directed by Professor
Professor Dickson, from the Bioprocessing Network, said: 'Biologics are complex products made by cells with immense commercial and social potential. Antibody proteins, for example, are revolutionary medicines for treatment for previously incurable diseases. The production of biologics (bioprocessing) is performed in complex biological systems. The bioprocessing network (BioProNET) will integrate academic and industrial strengths to improve current practice and to establish step-changing and innovative solutions for the manufacture of the next generation of biologics. By enhancing cost effectiveness of bioprocessing, the sector will move towards more affordable biologics for sustainable and healthier lifestyles.'
Professor Flitsch, who will head up IBCarb, said: 'Carbohydrates constitute the largest source of biomass on Earth and their exploitation for novel applications in biomaterials, energy, food and health will be critical in moving away from dependence on hydrocarbons to develop sustainable biotechnologies and reduce GHG emissions, ensuring both energy and food security. IBCarb aims to build collaboration between academia, industry and the public to explore and develop these opportunities presented by Carbohydrates.'
Professor Micklefield, from The
'Natural products are small molecules produced by microorganisms and plants which often possess potent biological activity. The discovery of new natural products can lead to new drugs including urgently required antibiotics, agrochemicals to increase crop yields helping feed the growing population, as well as other important products.'
Professor Turner said: 'The BBSRC-funded Network in Biocatalyst Discovery, Development and Scale-Up, will firstly develop new tools to accelerate biocatalyst research, discovery and development; secondly provide the framework and coordination to allow research groups from industry and academe to easily access and develop a truly broad range of biocatalyst panels and technologies for screening and thirdly provide a pipeline through to scale-up, manufacture and commercial use of novel enzymes.'
Two of the networks are being funded with support from
'They provide a new opportunity for the research community to make significant contributions to the
Each network includes funds to support a range of small proof of concept research projects, to demonstrate potential benefits for end user industries. The networks will then work with industries to investigate these research challenges further. Many of these ideas and collaborative links will build into the next phase: the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, funded by BBSRC, the Technology Strategy Board and the EPSRC, to be launched in early 2014 to support the development of ideas from concept to commercialisation.
The catalyst has benefited from recent cash injections and will now offer
These new schemes form the central part of BBSRC's strategy to support the development of
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