Representatives of Sheffield-led network present new Industrial Biotechnology Strategy launched to secure UK leadership in clean growth

Last week, representatives of Sheffield-led CBMNet (Crossing Biological Membranes Network; a BBSRC-funded Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy) presented the new ‘National Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030’ at a Ministerial Breakfast. The Strategy has been developed in collaboration with the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF) and BIOCATNET, another collaborative network in industrial biotech and is promoted in partnership with the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA).

CBMNet

The ‘National Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030’ aims to ensure that the UK becomes a leader in the global shift towards clean growth by fostering the development of industrial biotech SMEs. It was launched at an event in Parliament on Wednesday 6 June organised by the BIA and hosted by Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge. The event brought together industry, academia and policymakers to discuss how the UK industrial biotech sector can solve many environmental problems by promoting clean growth and reducing waste, such as oil-based plastics by creating biodegradable alternatives.

The Strategy will be implemented in three phases with actions across seven themes:

  1. External environment – to achieve consensus on a consistent long-term policy landscape that supports industrial biotech
  2. Funding and access to finance – leading to a supportive financial environment that recognises the potential of IB for driving growth and innovation
  3. Infrastructure and regional footprint – ensuring that industrial biotech is a major contributor to clean economic growth across all of the UK
  4. Trade, investment and commercialisation – positioning the UK as an international industrial biotech innovation and commercialisation hub
  5. Regulations and standards – making certain that UK frameworks are recognised as robust and support risk aware innovation
  6. Skills – fostering the skills required by industry to make sure that the industrial biotech sector is recognised as an attractive career option
  7. Communication – promoting one IB community voice, with consistent clear messages, where wider society is well informed and supportive of Responsible Research and Innovation in industrial biotech

These actions aim to place industrial biotech at the core of the UK Industrial Strategy and the Bioeconomy Strategy, embedding industrial biotech products and processes at the heart of a future high technology economy, driving clean growth and national prosperity.

Professor Jeff Green, CBMNet Director and Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Sheffield presented at the event and said: “2030 sets out specific recommendations and actions aligned with the central thrust of the government’s Industrial Strategy by harnessing the UK’s world-class science and engineering to enable industrial biotechnology to become a mainstream part of the UK economy and help deliver Clean Growth."

Industrial biotech is the use of biological resources for producing and processing materials, chemicals and energy. Through these new methods, it can address major societal and environmental challenges, such as our reliance on non-degradable plastics. The sector currently employs 14,000 people in the UK and generates £3.7bn in revenue, with the potential to disrupt international markets worth over $34bn.

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