A new initiative aimed at boosting Scotland’s bioeconomy launches this week. The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder will play a key role in driving Scotland’s green recovery and contribute to the delivery of the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology. 

The three-year project, delivered by Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), in partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF), aims to increase the number of businesses involved in Industrial Biotechnology (IB) in Scotland by 100 and to leverage £8m funding by March 2023. 

A launch event will take place on Thursday 23 July, 2:00 to 4:00pm, which is the first in a series of collaborative events, and will explore the benefits and role of IB in growing Scotland’s bioeconomy.  

IBioIC chief executive Mark Bustard, along with IBioIC senior business engagement manager Russell Clarke, will host a Q& A session with a panel of industry experts, including  KTN knowledge transfer manager Dana Heldt, Ingenza Ltd’s managing director, Ian Fotheringham,  Jane White, director of research and development at Horizon Proteins, Innovate UK’s innovation lead, Paul Bello, and Connor McClure, senior project manager at Scottish Enterprise. 

Key topics being discussed will include funding and resources, the applications of biotechnology and bio-based products.  There will also be project partner matchmaking and networking opportunities for event attendees.

Mark Bustard, IBioIC chief executive said: “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.” 

Dana Heldt, knowledge transfer manager – synthetic biology, at KTN said: “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.” 

The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder project will focus on six value chains that will play a key role in the growth of the bioeconomy – Whisky co-products, Marine biomass, Agricultural biomass, Municipal solid wastes and food processing by-products and waste, Forestry biomass and Carbon Capture – and look to bring benefits to companies to support NetZero in the form of improved sustainability, increased efficiency and superior product performance.

Future events in the series will focus on a wide range of topics including the circular bioeconomy, integration of bioprocessing with Food & Drink industry, bioresources, chemistry, materials, agritech, artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable efficient data evaluation.