Tag Archives: CPI

CBMNet Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy Skills Development Programme Launched

The UK is globally renowned for its excellence in life sciences, chemistry and engineering technical capabilities, and both industry and academia benefit from the capability of graduates from UK universities. However, there is a shortage of graduates with the relevant skills that would allow them to step into an Industrial Biotechnology role.

”The aim of the CBMNet IBBE Skills Development Programme is to build Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy skills in the UK and inform early career scientist’s on the possible career paths available in IBBE. We carried out a review of the evidence for the skills gap in IBBE in the UK in late 2015 and found that there is currently very little training available that is directly related to the use of biological membranes in IBBE.”

Dr Jen Vanderhoven, CBMNet Manager  


The CBMNet IBBE Skills Development Programme will tackle the remaining skills gaps by providing the following free of charge to our members:

Crossing Biological Membranes – Introduction to Industrial Biotechnology – Short Course

We are extremely excited to announce our 3 day short course, hosted at The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), which will provide delegates with a foundation understanding of the science behind the CBMNet remit and chance to see it in action in real life on-site at 2 different industrial organisations (CPI and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies). In 2016 the course will take place in November. We intend to run this course again in 2017 and 2018.

CBMNet Early Career Researchers’ (ECRs) Symposium

In September 2016, we have created an opportunity for our PhD students and Post Docs to present their research to academics and industry. This event also features career-development workshops and activities, as well as sessions from individuals in academia, industry and outside the lab highlighting various career paths and opportunities. Registration is now open.

CBMNet Early Career Researcher (ECR) Grants Scheme

We provide bursaries to allow ECRs to work with academic and industrial partners and to attend and present at relevant conferences and training events. The successful grants funded to date can be viewed here.

CBMNet Vacation Scholarship Scheme

We provide scholarships for undergraduate students to carry out research projects of up to 10 weeks and which fall within the CBMNet remit. To date we have had two successful rounds and have just awarded seven scholarships for 2016. Our next call will open in spring 2017. Successful vacation scholarships can be viewed here.

NIBBs Joint workshop: Beyond the lab: developing your Industrial Biotechnology Career

CBMNet have sponsored 12 of its ECR members to attend this two day joint NIBBs event, developed in conjunction with Cogent Skills and The Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum. This is an excellent opportunity for PhD students and Post Docs to find out about possible career paths in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy outside the lab.

13 New CBMNet Projects Funded

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13 New CBMNet Projects Funded

We are pleased to announce that we have recently funded 13 new projects in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. 

Proof-of-Concept Projects

  • Dr Neil Dixon, University of Manchester, CPI and Oxford Biotrans – Identification of Membrane Transporters of Lignin monomers
  • Professor David James, University of Sheffield and UCB Pharma – Engineering Exosome Production by CHO Cells
  • Professor Doug Kell, University of Manchester and Croda – A potent synthetic biology strategy for increasing transporter-mediated terpenoid efflux from E. coli

Business Interaction Vouchers

  • Dr Mark Shepherd, University of Kent and FujiFilm – Engineering E. coli for enhanced production of antibody fragments
  • Dr Mark Shepherd, University of Kent and FujiFilm – Lowering the disulphide load in the periplasm of E. coli cell factories
  • Dr Teuta Pilizota, University of Edinburgh and FujiFilm – Replacing osmotic downshocks with upshocks for periplasmic protein extraction

Vacation scholarships

  • Dr Frans Maathuis, University of York – The role of HMA and COPT proteins in trans membrane movement of palladium 
  • Professor Colin Robinson, University of Kent – An enhanced platform for translocation of biotherapeutics to the E. coli periplasm
  • Dr Alan Goddard, University of Lincoln – Modelling of multifactorial solvent stress on membranes
  • Dr Wuge Briscoe, University of Bristol – Bacterial mimicking liposomes
  • Dr Boyan Bonev, University of Nottingham – Membrane stability models in the presence of methacrylate esters
  • Dr Sam Miller, University of Aberdeen – Investigating the role of periplasmic and transmembrane domains of mechanosensitive channels in E.coli membrane integrity
  • Dr Claudio Avignone-Rossa, University of Surrey – Construction of glucose transporter mutants of Clostridium beijerinckii

You can view all our projects funded to date here and read our success stories here.

CBMNET secures major new industrial biotechnology funding

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The chemicals industry is a vital component of the world economy that is faced by the need to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to provide the resources required for a growing global population. One approach to a more sustainable chemicals industry is the use of microbial cell factories to produce key chemicals from sustainable feedstocks. However, a major barrier to commercial cell-factory-based chemical production is poor product yield. Often this is caused by intoxication of the cells resulting in sub-optimal performance. To address this problem, a £3 million research project (DeTox) to improve the sustainable production of chemicals and biofuels by microbes has been awarded by the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst fund to a consortium of scientists led by the Sheffield-based Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Crossing Biological Membranes Network in Industrial Biotechnology (CBMNet). Professors Jeffrey Green and David Kelly along with Dr Susan Molyneux-Hodgson at the University of Sheffield are working with colleagues at the Universities of York, Nottingham and Cambridge and five companies (Green Biologics, ReBio, Lucite, CPI and Ingenza), to overcome poor product yields by focussing on how the properties of the bacterial cell membrane can be modified to create more robust cell factories.

DeTox is led by the CBMNet co-director Dr Gavin Thomas (University of York) and has benefited from funding from a CBMNet Business Interaction Voucher (BIV) which generated some of the preliminary data underpinning the DeTox project.

“The BIV was very successful from our point of view as we trialled a new method in our lab, which we took right through to the point where we generated novel data. This then went straight into a grant application.”

Dr Gavin Thomas

“The DeTox project is an exciting opportunity to improve the efficiency of cell-based chemical production that emerged from the creative discussions within the CBMNet management board and our industrial partners.”

Professor Jeffrey Green, CBMNet director

Importantly, the project includes a sociological study of collaborative research processes to develop a better understanding of ‘responsible innovation’.

“The approach of integrating sociological study into a technical scientific project is becoming more common, and it’s an approach that has already been shown to add enormous value to research. We’re very much looking forward to working alongside the scientists and engineers in this important research.”

Dr Molyneux-Hodgson, an expert in the social aspects of synthetic biology in the Department of Sociological Studies

“Green Biologics are looking forward to working with the academic community over the next five years. It is with great pleasure that the wider UK academic community has recognised Clostridia as an important industrial microbe and hopefully this will lead to a dynamic and vibrant community.”

Dr Preben Krabben, Head of Innovation at Green Biologics

DeTox is only one of the many achievements of CBMNet. So far it has funded seven Proof-of-Concept grants along with seven Vacation Scholarships (worth over £175,000) and five Business Interaction Vouchers (worth over £50,000). Many of these awards have focused on supporting students and early career researchers to ensure that the biotechnology expertise continues to grow.

“In our first year we have begun to establish an active and engaged community of industrialists and academics. We now need to build on these foundations and promote the importance of an appreciation of the impact that membrane biology can have on industrial biotechnology processes through our project funding streams and meetings.”

Professor Jeffrey Green

CBMNet is always seeking to further strengthen its links with industry so that the expert knowledge of the UK ‘membrane research’ community is translated into improved biotechnological processes. As the network continues to expand, the sum of its collective knowledge will be a significant resource for the UK biotechnology industry to draw upon.

CBMNet Members Awarded IB Catalyst Funding

Congratulations to CBMNet members Green Biologics, FujiFilm Diosynth, Centre for Process Innovation, and Ingenza, who were amongst the UK companies and universities to be awarded Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst funding in the most recent round.

A total of 23 projects, ranging from making biofuel from household waste to using bacteria to make the building blocks for new medicines, will share almost £20 million from the IB Catalyst – introduced in January 2014 to support collaboration between UK researchers and the emergent industrial biotechnology sector.

See full story here.