The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) has committed more than £11m in funding towards future green biotechnology skills since its creation in 2014. The Glasgow-based centre has awarded 15 new grants to fund PhD projects at biotechnology companies.
It has now awarded the final tranche of the £11m commitment it received from the Scottish Government three years ago.
The IBioIC and the UK-wide Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) awarded a combined package of £2.8m to a range of start-ups, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies.
The funding will enable research projects to employ the skills of PhD students over a four-year study programme. IBioIC’s industry-led programme focuses on giving students commercial and industrial experience, alongside academic research, to help them succeed in industry. Students spend up to one year working directly in the industrial biotechnology community, with the opportunity to learn directly from experts in the field, build relationships and cultivate their own networks.
The innovation centre and its partners will have supported more than 100 PhD students when the new group starts in October.
One of the projects awarded funding is a circular bio-economy initiative working with the University of Edinburgh and IndiNature, an Edinburgh-based sustainable construction materials manufacturer. The company has secured £104,000 for a doctoral research project, which will explore the use of agricultural waste as a feedstock for making novel materials to bind crop-based fibres together to make circular, low-carbon building insulation.
Ian Archer, technical director at IBioIC, said: “The industrial biotechnology community is growing at pace alongside the UK-wide drive for sustainability, and our collaborative training partnerships rightly aim to bring together industry and academia to support commercial development.”
Scott Simpson, chief executive at IndiNature, said: “There is growing demand for natural, plastic-free products that can be used to improve the sustainability of our built environment and we are turning that into a reality using locally-grown crops and bio-based materials.
“Having the support of a PhD student will be invaluable as we aim to scale-up our lab-based research and we are looking forward to working closely with future talent who will no doubt offer a fresh perspective.”