Multimillion pound biotechnology research investment for Manchester
The University of Manchester has been awarded £10million to launch a UK-wide biomanufacturing research hub that could pave the way for easier and quicker ways to make new medicines and sustainable energy solutions.
The Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub (FBRH), which will be led by Professor Nigel Scrutton and based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), with “spokes” at other UK leading institutions, will develop new biotechnologies that will speed up bio-based manufacturing in three key sectors – pharmaceuticals, chemicals and engineering materials.
Industrial biotechnology is the use of biological resources such as plants, algae, fungi, marine life and micro-organisms, combined with the emerging science of synthetic biology to transform the manufacture chemicals and materials. It can also provide a source of renewable energy.
Accelerating the delivery of such technologies, by making the manufacturing processes more commercially viable, means industry partners will be able to meet the societal needs of ‘clean growth’ more efficiently and on more a scalable, global level.
Professor Scrutton, Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, explains: “With the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), the University already has one of Europe’s leading industry-interfaced institutes, with world-leading capabilities in bio-based chemicals synthesis and manufacture.
“Now, with the addition of the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, it will take it to an even higher level. The fact MIB in partnership with other leading UK centres has secured such a high-priority government research and manufacturing initiative is a testament to the outstanding work we undertake here every day and it will keep us at the vanguard of industrial biotechnology.”
With the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), the University already has one of Europe’s leading industry-interfaced institutes, with world-leading capabilities in bio-based chemicals synthesis and manufacture. Now, with the addition of the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, it will take it to an even higher level.
The FBRH is part of the £30million government investment into the UK’s research and manufacturing sector. It will be one of three manufacturing hubs that, in total, bring together 67 partners from industry, the public sector and seven universities from across the country.
The funding comes from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), both part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Industry Minister Richard Harrington said: “This investment brings together world-class researchers and leading manufacturing firms to help revolutionise how key industries like steel operate in the future.
“These developments will help us build a smarter, greener and more efficient manufacturing sector in the UK which is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy to harness the opportunities of clean growth creating more high-skilled jobs.
“We are determined to ensure the UK sets the global best standard for making our energy intensive industries competitive in the new clean economy.”
The FBRH brings together complementary research expertise across the UK with “Spoke” partner institutions at Imperial College London; the University of Nottingham; University College London; the UK Catalysis Hub; the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC); and the Centre for Process Integration (CPI). Together, they will work with industrial partners on ‘co-created research programmes’ to drive the wider adoption of sustainable biomanufacturing.
Professor Lynn Gladden, EPSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “There’s a real need to mesh fundamental research with our manufacturing industries. By doing so we can ensure that research is relevant to industrial need but also that UK businesses can be in touch with the latest developments in their fields. These three new Manufacturing Hubs cover industries that are important to the UK’s future capacity to make products sustainably and improve the country’s prosperity. ”
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