Tag Archives: event

CBMNet and IBCarb awarded BBSRC International Workshop Award

BBSRC has identified industrial biotechnology and bioenergy as high-level priority areas in its Delivery Plan for 2016-2020. Supporting the BBSRC to achieve its strategic goals, this focused workshop will identify the science and technological barriers that need to be addressed in order to harness the potential of plant ‘cell factories’ for producing biopharmaceuticals. A CBMNet-driven symposium (Manchester, September 2017) brought together key players from Canada, the EU and the UK, to discuss scientific and commercial opportunities and challenges in this space. The goal now is to regroup, with a more focused set of individuals, to refine the landscape and to identify opportunities for collaborative R&D projects involving academia and industry in the UK and Canada. These aims are synergistic with those of CBMNet and IBCarb in the UK, and with the Canadian Glycomics Network, GlycoNet. Read more

David Newman, BBIA report on EFIB

David Newman, BBIA Managing Director, attended EFIB 2016 in Glasgow and sends this report as the event comes to a close on 20 October.

The EFIB event was a well-organised and interesting overview of the bioeconomy landscape – in the UK, Europe and with contributions from the USA. Three days of workshops and seminars illustrated some of the new technological developments the sector is seeing rapidly adopted, with announcements regarding new investments, products and plant.

The strength of innovation in Scotland itself became evident with the government determined to back bioeconomy industries wanting to build infrastructure there. Scotland is poised to take the leading role within the UK in this sector, along with the Teesside region’s historic chemical industry hub.

Need for bioeconomy strategy in the UK

Whilst Scotland has a clear bioeconomy strategy and is implementing it, the UK as a whole lacks one still, and this delay has led to promising start-ups and researchers with intellectual property building their plants elsewhere.

Croda’s new $150m facility is being built in the USA and Akzonobel’s €180m facility in Rotterdam, because support, markets, political certainty and feedstocks in these locations offer a stronger case for investment.

But all is not lost. Mark Turner from BEIS this week outlined the development of thinking on the bioeconomy strategy and informed us that the government would probably announce in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement (in November) the publication of Green and White papers, with policy consultation, on the bioeconomy. He strongly recommends we all request to take part and we can do this now by writing to BEIS asking to be included in the consultation. Please do so.

Circular Economy Package progress

Elsewhere, presentations from European Commission officials underlined how the debate is moving forward on the Circular Economy Package. The discussion is very dynamic, moving from the Commission to the Parliament and the European Council.

We can expect a final version of the Waste Framework Directive not before the end of 2017. Policy discussions are intense over questions that affect our sector, notably the segregated collection of biowaste, and the definition of which materials can be considered as compatible with biowaste collections (such as bioplastics).

European, and national, funding still plentiful

One message has come across strongly: there is a lot of government and EU funding available for bioeconomy projects, whether within Horizon 2020, the BBI JU or national funds through vouchers given by NNFCC, LBNet or others.

The European Commission officials also confirmed that for the next funding round in 2017, the UK has the same opportunity to obtain funding as it always has had. Until the Brexit negotiations are completed, nothing will change on this.

Perhaps this is the moment when the British government will see the opportunities in bioeconomy investments and stimulate these through the sort of policies adopted elsewhere. Strong support among the audience was given to policies on green public procurement, to forceful interventions on biowaste collections policy, to re-writing end-of-waste regulations to allow new technologies to enter the market, and to cross-sectorial thinking and planning.

BBIA will continue to give its support to policymakers to make the case for bioeconomy investments in the UK, and I hope we can count upon your support and contribution in doing so.

David Newman
Managing Director, BBIA

Biowaste to value: how can policy makers help?

Biowaste to value: how can policy makers help? Pre-conference workshop at EFIB 2016, Glasgow, 18th October 2016

Join this practical workshop to gain in-depth insights around the opportunities and barriers to the use of biowaste as a feedstock for bio-based products. With a focus on urban organic waste and agricultural by-products, this will be your chance to hear from innovators and thought leaders from across Europe.

It will also be a chance to contribute to a brief for policy-makers, outlining the policy support needed in this area.
More details and registration are now available online.

Realising the Opportunity: IBioIC 2nd Annual Conference Report

Thank you Glasgow for a fantastic few days….

We had a great time at the IBioIC 2nd Annual Conference last week in Glasgow, where we had the pleasure of sponsoring one of the sessions on bioprocessing. With over 400 delegates in attendance it was a great 2 days of innovation and insight into the issues and achievements throughout Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE).

After a long, but scenic train up the east coast we reached Glasgow early Wednesday evening and had a quick catch up with the Network Managers from BioCatNet (Thank you for the lovely dinner!) who were also sponsoring a session at the event. We also had a chance to discuss our joint event that is coming up in July 2016 ‘Overcoming Cellular Barriers: Implications for Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy’.

The conference started late morning on the Thursday with an introduction from IBioIC CEO Roger Kilburn to set the scene and a short film about the successes of IBioIC in 2015. It was impressive to see how much they have achieved from their Strategic Plan in such a short time.

Next was a session which provided a global view in the industrial biotechnology sphere highlighting what’s new, where the success is happening, and summarising and discussing the progress made and opportunities for Industrial Biotechnology (IB) in Scotland.

After a tasty lunch and time for networking we then heard from some of the current IBioIC members about their successes and the learnings and outcomes from IBioIC project funding to date. Douglas McKenzie from Xanthella, Charlie Bavington from GlycoMar, Ian Fotheringham from Ingenza Ltd and Ted Chapman from GSK all agreed that IBioIC is integral to Scotland and the UK becoming successful in IB.

Next was the CBMNet sponsored session about the technical challenges and how IBioIC can help with bioprocessing and scale-up in IB. The session was chaired by Professor Gary Lye from University College London and we heard about the progress his lab is making.

Gary also highlighted the skills gaps that exist in IBBE and how we should address them. This is something that CBMNet is dedicated to helping solve, with our Early Career Research Grants. We are also in the process of developing our own IBBE Skills Training Programme.

This was followed by a talk from Lucy Foley from the Centre for Process Innovation talking about the new National Biologics Centre. From 2004-2010, biologics increased from 7% to 70% of the sales of the top 10 drugs. Astounding!


Day 1 then ended with a Civic Reception hosted by the Rt Hon The Lord Provost of Glasgow and plenty of wine. From here we headed on the the Networking dinner being held at the incredible Drygate Brewery, where IBioIC had their very own branded beer for us to try. There was a great quiz put on throughout the night and the atmosphere was fantastic.


Day 2 started early with networking and breakfast, followed by a session to explore the challenges & barriers to industrial biotechnology with insights from a ministerial perspective and the progress made in achieving the National Plan for IBBE. The session featured considerations and discussions around the societal issues that biotechnology presents,  and questions how we manage and influence public opinion.

After a quick coffee it was straight in to the next session on the Future of Industrial Biotechnology discussing the complete range of UK open access facilities from lab to commercial demonstration scale and the opportunities and ranges of innovation funding options available in Scotland as well as providing an overview of the role of  supporting agencies and the venture investment landscape for industrial biotechnology.

It was great to here that the CBMNet and the other NIBBs play a pivatol roll in funding IBBE in the UK.

BBSRC stratergy

It was even greater to see that CBMNet led activities made up 2 of the 5 success stories to date. Congratulations to all of the CBMNet and IBioIC members involved in these – and especially to CBMNet Co-Director Dr Gavin Thomas, who has been the lead on both.


Another tasty lunch the event was closed hearing from our global counterparts that have successfully commercialised industrial biotechnology. We found out about out about the lessons learned as well as current developments of each company.

All the presentations from the conference are now available on-line here.

Again, thanks for a great conference IBioIC, we look forward to seeing (and hopefully working with) you soon!

For details on future events with an IBBE focus please see our events page and the IBioIC events calender