Dr Adrian Higson

Adrian Higson is NNFCC's Managing Director. He is also NNFCC’s Lead Consultant for Biobased products. He is a chartered chemist with over 20 years’ research and consulting experience within the chemical and biobased products industry.

Adrian maintains a wide client base, providing consulting and facilitation services for both the public and private sector. Private sector clients include SME technology developers, multi-national FMCG companies and business investors.

Adrian is a goal focused APM qualified project manager with experience of coordinating large multi-site and multi-stakeholder projects. He has an excellent track record of delivering complex projects to high quality, on budget and within deadlines.

Whether a market analysis, sustainability appraisal or a business options study, Adrian takes a ‘solutions based’ approach to each study; working with the client to ensure the right questions are asked, ensuring project outputs are aligned with client expectations and desired outcomes.

Adrian holds a PhD from the University of Liverpool and has held research positions at the University of Colorado (USA) and University of Dundee (UK). Prior to joining NNFCC he was a project manager at SAFC Pharma (Sigma Aldrich) supervising the GMP manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Adrian’s experience has contributed to several public working groups, including

  • UK Bioeconomy Business Environment Working Group
  • European Commission Expert Group for Bio-Based Products
  • Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group
  • Bioeconomy advisor to Innovation Norway.


Ongoing and recent projects


  • Market Analysis to support business plan development. Recent studies have covered Lactic Acid, Cysteine, Pentose sugars, Polylactic acid, Terpenes, Alpha olefins, Itaconic acid.
  • Business Options Analysis to support novel food packaging developments covering end-of-life scenarios.
  • Horizon Scanning including the potential for Forest-Based Industrial Biotechnology in Scotland and Biorefining in the Tees Valley, North East England.


Research Programme Facilitation

  • Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst Coordinator: The IB Catalyst supports research and development into the processing and production of materials, chemicals (including pharmaceutical precursors and biopharmaceuticals) and bioenergy.
  • Integrated Biorefining Research and Technology Club Facilitator: The club supported the development of biological, chemical and engineering processes to produce chemicals, materials and polymers to replace petro-chemical derived sources.


Collaborative Innovation Projects

  • SuperBio (Support and Partnership for the development of multiple sustainable and market ready value chains in the biobased economy). An H2020 funded project to develop new cross-sectoral industrial value chains across the EU, building upon the innovation potential of SMEs.
  • BioBase4SME: A network, representing many leading biobased economy experts, advising SMEs from across North-West Europe on how to develop novel ideas into marketable products. The project is helping start-ups and SME to overcome technological and non-technological barriers to innovation.



Selected Publications


Conference presentations