CBMNet In Focus 2018 – 2019

It is with mixed feelings that we welcome you to the final CBMNet In Focus publication. We are disappointed that EBMNet, the proposed successor to CBMNet, was not supported as one of the Phase II NIBB. EBMNet would have retained all the core strengths of CBMNet whilst forging new alliances by breaking new ground in systems metabolic engineering and would have made a major contribution to developing new partnerships and knowledge exchange for the benefit of UK Biotechnology. We wish all the Phase II NIBB well and we hope that CBMNet members, academic and industrial, can find at least one Phase II NIBB that supports their needs and interests. In the meantime, we are exploring possible ways to preserve at least some of the assets of CBMNet that were not rolled over in Phase II; hopefully there will be more news soon.

Whilst the sense of disappointment in knowing that CBMNet will close in June 2019 remains, there is also a strong sense of satisfaction in having been part of building a new community of academic researchers, biotechnology practitioners and policy makers to promote UK biotechnology. In particular, the importance of considering how membrane function impacts on the performance of any cell factory.

In this final edition of In Focus we are pleased to showcase the many ways in which CBMNet and its members have expanded knowledge and pressed the case for biotechnology in the last 12 months. The launch of the ‘National Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030’ at the House of Commons in June 2018 was an opportunity to put the case for Government support for UK biotechnology directly to MPs. Hopefully, once the all-consuming focus on leaving the EU is behind us, there will be further opportunities to take this implementation plan forward with ministerial support. It has also been encouraging to see how CBMNet Business Interaction Vouchers, Proof-of-Concept funds and Vacation Scholarships have engaged academics that have not previously been involved in industrial biotechnology projects. Several exciting case studies are recounted here and some have led on to further funding to maintain these new relationships.

We hope that you find something of interest in this edition of In Focus. We thank all those who have served on the CBMNet management board for their enthusiastic support over the last 5 years and of course we thank all the members, without whom CBMNet would not have possible.

Download a pdf version of In Focus here

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