£12.5 million investment creates a National Biofilms Innovation Centre for both business and research
Launched last week, the UK National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) plans to enhance our understanding of biofilms, help overcome the challenges they present across industry sectors, and enable greater exploitation of the science and commercial opportunities they represent.
NBIC is a major, £12.5 million five year investment which forms a key part of the UK Biofilms Programme which is led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Innovate UK. The investment is supported further through an in-kind contribution of up to £1 million worth of access to the High Performance Computing facilities from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: "By better understanding biofilms and how we can manage and engineer them, we can influence ongoing scientific discoveries in medical diagnosis and treatment and improve environmental protection.
"This new centre is an excellent collaboration between Research Councils, Innovate UK and universities, and with our commitment to invest an additional £2.3 billion for R&D in 2021-22, we are ensuring that our world leading researchers get the support they need and continue to thrive through our Industrial Strategy."
Biofilms are a community of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces, such as plaque on teeth. Microorganisms that form biofilms include bacteria and fungi and because biofilms are everywhere they present a range of different challenges and opportunities to a diversity of industries from agriculture to healthcare.
Melanie Welham, Chief Executive of BBSRC said: "The Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre is a first of its kind representing a £12.5 million investment from BBSRC and Innovate UK, with matched resource from industry. This is a unique opportunity which brings together businesses and researchers. In partnership they will create a hub for sharing knowledge and experience to accelerate the commercialisation of world-class science and emerging technologies into new products, processes and services."
The new centre will advance biofilm science and innovation by bringing together those at the cutting edge of research with innovators in business to better understand how to manage, detect and engineer biofilms.
The National Biofilms Innovation Centre will be led by a consortia of four universities and their industrial partners: University of Southampton, University of Liverpool, University of Edinburgh and the University of Nottingham.