Since the publication of the Government initiated Innovation and Growth Team report on Industrial Biotechnology (IB), UK stakeholders have been working to realise the commercial benefits of IB, building on the acknowledged strength of the UK research base.
As access to pilot-scale equipment is commonly cited as a barrier to development of IB processes, NNFCC and Inspire Biotech were commissioned by BBSRC, EPSRC, Innovate UK, and IBLF to identify whether there is a specific need for investment in pilot scale equipment in the UK and to develop the outline case for any investment.
The solution was provided through a structure phased approach to identify the existing UK IB equipment asset landscape (pre-processing, processing, refining and extraction) the location, scale, typical use and means of access followed by the gathering of stakeholder views on equipment needs to address any identified gaps in provision. To build the case for prioritised public investment in specific IB sectors, information was drawn from the asset register, interviews with key asset ‘owners’, the stakeholder workshop and from follow-up discussions with key stakeholders.
NNFCC identified that overall the UK is currently well served with respect to accessible pilot equipment and competence and is competitive with other European member states. However, a number of emerging technologies were identified as areas worthy of investment and we concluded that further more limited investment, focused on specific established sectors, would strengthen UK capability.
Two areas of strategic investment were identified as C1 gas fermentation and Microalgae for high value products. The study also found that further investment to consolidate and grow existing areas such as fermentation from cellulosic feedstock and high value extractives was warranted.
For more information and to read the full report for this project click here