Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Bioscience for advanced manufacturing and clean growth

This programme holds a major role in supporting the development of new biological processes, strains of organisms and feedstocks. These can be used to support:

  • novel, bio-based and low carbon manufacturing processes
  • the production of more sustainable products
  • the development of remediation processes.
Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Innovate UK

The scope and what we're doing

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has a major role in supporting research and innovation involving the use of biological systems to develop better products and low carbon solutions. Systems include:

  • genes
  • enzymes
  • bacteria
  • fungi
  • algae
  • animal and plant cells
  • whole (multicellular) organisms.

What do we mean by advanced manufacturing and clean growth?

Bioscience research is being used for manufacturing improved materials, chemicals, energy vectors, biopharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals using renewable resources and waste as feedstocks. The use of wastes as feedstocks allows for biotechnologically-based remediation activities covering land, air and water.

Feedstocks can include wastes and residues in the form of gases, liquids and solids, as well as renewable feedstocks such as perennial biomass.

The technologies within this area of investment can include those in bioscience, chemistry and engineering, and particularly genomics, systems and synthetic or engineering biology.

Why we're doing it

There are three main drivers for this programme.

Investing in and developing the UK research base

We want to ensure the UK has the capacity and capability to undertake a wide range of cross-disciplinary, internationally competitive scientific research. This research will serve to attract investment and provide opportunities for employment and economic growth.

This involves working closely with:

Encouraging and building the research base and user interactions

We want to ensure the UK research base is connected with its user community, to allow the flow of ideas along the supply and value chains to help facilitate translation of research and innovation. This will support knowledge exchange and the commercialisation of BBSRC-sponsored research, and make the community user-ready as well as providing opportunities for inward investment, employment and economic growth.

Meeting societal needs, promoting awareness and facilitating societal interactions

We want to ensure the UK research base helps to provide solutions to key societal needs, such as helping to maintain affordable, sustainable lifestyles through increased use of bio-renewables, while meeting key legal obligations, particularly in net zero carbon.

The role also includes promoting interactions with society, informing on the outcomes of research and gauging public attitudes to current and emerging issues in this area.
Similarly, this programme endeavours to support the UK government’s net zero strategy with investments that address targets in the report.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

BBSRC works with a number of different sponsors and stakeholders to support the development of a high quality, cross-disciplinary community, interacting with users and meeting societal needs.

There are strong links between BBSRC’s strategy teams, leading to close collaboration with the bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food, and transformative technologies teams. Particularly, on the subjects of land use and engineering biology, respectively.

Many of our impacts and outcomes feature in section 4 of the BBSRC Impact Showcase 2021. Case studies include recent advances in biomass production, food flavourings, bioplastics and more.

Read the case studies in our information about BBSRC research outcomes and impact.

Collaboration with national sponsors

At a national level, there is a portfolio of grant funding covering research funded by BBSRC which may be in collaboration with other sponsors, including EPSRC, NERC, Innovate UK and industry.

The research is carried out in UK universities and institutes that receive strategic funding from BBSRC.

Significant past investments in the area include:

Significant current investments include:

National training activities

BBSRC also supports a number of national training activities in the form of studentships in advanced manufacturing and clean growth funded through doctoral training partnerships (DTPs).

International collaborations

The key aims of BBSRC are also being met through a range of international collaborations with key UK sponsors and other European funding agencies, through the European Research Area network (ERA-NET) and with the Department of Biotechnology in India. Previous investments have included:

Who to contact

Ask a question about this programme

Jamie Whitford


Last updated: 17 October 2022

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