The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) has launched a new call for funded feasibility studies, with an increased grant limit reflecting the rising costs of crucial early-stage research and development activities across the bioeconomy.
Successful project proposals will share a total of £150,000 in funding, with each initiative now qualifying for grants of up to £30,000. The innovation centre said it was keen to support continued innovation in the face of economic challenges, particularly among start-ups and SMEs with ideas that could transform Scotland’s carbon footprint with the right support.
Earlier this year, the Scottish Government published its National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which highlighted industrial biotechnology as a key sector for decarbonisation and the transition to net zero.
Researchers are now invited to apply for the latest round of feasibility funding, with the deadline for proposals on 9th February. Initiatives must be led by an industry partner in collaboration with a Scottish Higher Education Institution and could cover any aspect of the bioeconomy ranging from sectors such as food and drink, textiles, waste management, agriculture and manufacturing – including medicines.
IBioIC has also announced a 10% increase in its funding for PhD candidates across its collaborative training partnerships, to support students with the impact of rising costs of living and inflation. Around 20 students will see a rise in stipends, bringing IBioIC in line with other funding bodies in the sector such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
To date, the innovation centre has supported more than 350 students through its skills and training partnerships, as well as helping over 200 companies to bring new bio-based processes and products to the global market.
Liz Fletcher, director of business engagement at IBioIC, said: “Rising costs are causing challenges for many businesses but for those at the early stages of developing new products and processes, funding to support innovation could be the difference between the idea making it onto the market or being left behind as a pipe dream.
“Alongside the backdrop of economic uncertainty, achieving net zero remains a key challenge for Scotland across all sectors. We have an opportunity to become a leader in the biotechnology field – with bio-based concepts providing alternatives to fossil fuels – and our role as an innovation centre is to support companies to take concepts and ideas to the next stage of becoming reality.”