£4.1 million investment in industrial biotechnology
From preventing kidney disease to producing mosquito repellent, UKRI’s BBSRC is awarding £4.1 million to three projects seeking to sustainably improve human and animal health using industrial biotechnology.
These projects come as a result of the ‘Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in the Developing World’ Global Challenges Research Funding call, which invited research proposals seeking to tackle the challenges of advancing a low-carbon bioeconomy by developing renewable products and bioenergy sources in developing countries.
In sub-Saharan Africa large proportions of population live in absolute poverty and live without electricity. This lower energy equity in developing countries means people rely on dangerous and inefficient forms of cooking, potentially causing pulmonary diseases and agricultural sustainability issues where wood and agricultural wastes are burned.
By using biological resources including animal cells, plants, algae, marine life, fungi and micro-organisms, industrial biotechnology can produce and process materials, chemicals and energy in a cleaner and more sustainable way. Industrial biotechnology has the potential to unlock cycles of poverty by simultaneously remediating land, air and water, developing energy security, job creation, income diversification, rural development and improvements in the general health of the population as well as an impact on carbon emissions to reduce the consequences of climate change.
Dr Colin Miles, Head of Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy at BBSRC, said: “These projects are excellent examples of how the power of biology through the application of industrial biotechnology can impact the developing world and provide developing countries opportunities to overcome many of the barriers to their economic development. By working in partnership with ODA countries through the Global Challenges Research Fund, these projects will harness excellent UK bioscience coupled with local expertise to produce low-cost energy and resources for communities and industries, and support sustainable long-term economic growth.”
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