The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) has seen its membership base grow to more than 150, as more organisations become part of Scotland’s burgeoning bioeconomy.

The innovation centre’s members include multinational life sciences companies and small-scale startups from across the UK. Over half (54%) are headquartered in Scotland, and the majority (91%) are micro businesses and SMEs including C-Source Renewables and Grampian Growers, which recently joined the network, taking it over the milestone figure.

IBioIC’s network is designed to connect industry with Scotland’s academic expertise to support proof-of-concept projects and bring bio-based processes and products to the global market.

It also provides access to a range of support schemes for early-stage businesses, including funding for innovation initiatives, skills programmes for developing talent, and access to bioprocess scale-up facilities.

C-Source Renewables is a biotechnology R&D initiative based in Edinburgh, focussed on transforming agro-industrial organic waste feedstocks into platform chemicals and fuels for various industrial applications.

The business is currently being supported by IBioIC through feasibility funding and is also taking part in the Biotech Innovators Programme, a 12-month initiative with targeted support and guidance for biotech spin-outs, SMEs and start-ups.

Based in Angus, Grampian Growers is a farmer-owned cooperative exploring the opportunities that daffodil and potato-derived bioactives could unlock for a range of sectors. Last year, a related IBioIC-funded feasibility study explored the potential role of daffodil-based compounds in preventing cardiovascular disorders.

The boost in membership aligns with Scotland’s ambitions for a thriving bioeconomy, with targets set out in the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology. The plan outlines a goal of achieving £1.2 billion in associated turnover and over 4,000 direct employees by 2025.

Liz Fletcher, director of business engagement and operations at IBioIC, said: “Building a successful bioeconomy will play a key part in helping Scotland to reach net zero, and the recent growth of our network shows that companies are seeing the value of working towards this goal.

“IBioIC’s role is to support businesses to embrace more sustainable products, materials and processes, helping to create green jobs and fuel economic growth. We’ve noticed an overarching trend of members decarbonising and adopting more circular approaches, and as an innovation centre we want to continue to connect industry and academia to seize the opportunities this presents.”

Vinod Kumar, CSO and co-founder of C-Source Renewables, said:“IBioIC has a range of connections both in Scotland and around the world. It introduced us to new partners we likely wouldn’t have met otherwise, and we’d recommend the various support programmes for feasibility studies and spin-outs, as well as access to scale-up support for businesses like ourselves.”

Kirsty Spink, managing director of Grampian Growers, said: “Being a member of IBioIC’s network and joining its events and annual conference has helped us to make valuable industry connections.

“There’s a big opportunity for farmers of all kinds of plants and crops to get more involved with biotechnology and explore how produce can be used for valuable industrial processes. We look forward to developing those relationships with other IBioIC members.”