A new initiative aiming to boost the “bioeconomy” in Scotland and leverage millions of pounds in funding is set to launch today (23rd July).
The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder (BCB) project will last for three years and be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF). It will be delivered by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) in collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).
It is hoped that the initiative will drive Scotland’s green recovery and help to deliver on the promises of the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology.
The BCB project will work alongside companies to raise awareness of the applications of biotechnology. The IBioIC said it will “evaluate the whole value chain and look to bring benefits to companies aiming to support NetZero.”
Chief executive of the IBioIC, Mark Bustard, commented: “The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder will really help to drive innovation in the sector and will also boost industry engagement outside of the current bioeconomy community.
“We want to encourage companies, start-ups and spin-outs to look at value chains and other opportunities for the production of renewable biological resources, and their conversion into everyday products, that will help to contribute to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for all.”
The project will focus on six value chains that will play a key role in the growth of the bioeconomy in Scotland, including whisky co-products, agricultural biomass and food processing by-products.
Dana Heldt, knowledge transfer manager – synthetic biology, at KTN, added: “This project will bring academia and industry together to research, develop and deploy novel high-tech approaches to the conversion of biomass and waste streams into value-added products and applications.”
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The Scottish Government is hoping initiatives like these will help to boost the Scottish economy through its national plan, particularly after the impact of Covid-19.
The plan aims to grow industrial biotechnology-related turnover to £900m by 2025 and increase the number of companies using it to 200 across the country.
Commenting on the plan, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee said: “Scotland’s Economic Strategy prioritises boosting investment and innovation to create a strong, vibrant and sustainable economy.
“Industrial Biotechnology underpins innovation across a range of sectors to boost prosperity through ‘green’ growth and has the potential to be transformational when considering this aim.
“I believe that the industrial biotechnology sector in Scotland will continue to make a strong contribution to our economy and can do so whilst also reducing our impact on the environment.”