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Learning to fuel the growth of a more sustainable world

Rachel Clark

Rachel Clark from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) encourages students into science to help save the planet.

Young people are acutely aware of the human impact on the environment, demonstrated by the huge turn outs at climate change rallies across the UK earlier this year.

I want to give a shout-out to those embarking on the next step in their learning about the opportunities there are to study applied sciences such as industrial biotechnology, which offer the opportunity to become science literate in a subject that helps the planet by offering green alternatives to fossil fuels.

We not only need to review our 'single-use' mind-set, whether that’s our fast fashion choices or ensuring we recycle where we can, we need to innovate and look at ways to turn 'waste' into a wide range of products.

Witness the music festivals this year, where water stations replaced selling water in plastic bottles and the London Marathon opted for edible seaweed capsules of water at mile 23.

Studying industrial biotechnology will also teach you about the circular economy and how you can make, use and recycle to lessen our impact on the planet.

IBioIC has been set a high bar for increasing turnover from £189 million to £900 million by 2025.

The grassroots level of study is what is going to future proof the sector and we are working with teachers to inspire schoolchildren to think about science and engineering as a career choice.

In my role at IBioIC I work with colleges, universities and industry to give students access to courses that match with the needs of this growing sector.

Glasgow Clyde College’s HND in Industrial Biotechnology is one example of how IBioIC is working with industry, academic institutions and trade bodies to provide exceptional courses and teaching to help young people transition from school to further education with a view to a career or higher education in the sector.

Our ‘HND Retain and Inspire Programme’ is a great example of how well a collaborative approach to teaching and learning works.

Students at Glasgow Clyde College benefit from industry engagement opportunities, meeting with sector experts, hearing about the latest product developments, employment opportunities and visiting behind the scenes at some of the regional biotech facilities.

Interest in studying Industrial Biotechnology has increased as more young people want to access science courses that make a positive contribution to the environment, whether it is turning coffee grounds into a replacement for palm oil and waste langoustine shells into a replacement for cling film.

IBioIC is supporting PhD researchers and start-ups that are making these incredible discoveries and driving forward innovative environmental solutions.

But if we are to make the most of the opportunities that the Industrial Biotechnology sector creates, more Colleges across Scotland need to offer these courses to give greater access and engagement in Applied Sciences.

 

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