2017 – AUGUST: Exploiting Algae and Marine Biomass for Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy


14-18 August 2017 | Nelson, New Zealand


This event brought together over 25 academic and industry scientists with diverse interests in Algal biotechnology and focused on a deeper understanding of the bottlenecks in producing polysaccharides, other bioactives and functional food ingredients from marine biomass. It aimed to identify the challenges in characterisation, production and commercialisation, with the aim of generating project ideas to overcome yield-restricting bottlenecks in this process. It provided an international forum for leading academic and industrial practitioners to establish a strong evidence-based assessment of our current understanding of the challenges and establish new partnerships and collaborations.

“Thanks to the organisers from both UK and New Zealand. The local host was wonderful in all the necessary preparations such as food, tour, and many other details. Thanks to BBSRC for funding the workshop and to Cawthron Institute for hosting the workshop.”

The event was supported by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the BBSRC-funded NIBB CBMNet and PHYCONET, the Microbiology Society, and the Cawthron Institute and offered the participants the opportunity to learn more about each other’s research interests and about the work that Cawthron Institute itself does.

Dr Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde) said that the event presented a diverse range of science and that she had already exchanged emails with delegates about potential collaboration after the first day of her visit to Cawthron. “Cawthron has done a very good job of organising the event and I can see real potential for the future,” says Dr Duncan. “Cawthron is known for its very good facilities and I am already looking into ways to fund a continuing discussion amongst participants. I would be happy to host delegates at my own lab in Scotland or to come back to Cawthron.” Dr Duncan’s research interests include discovering new antibiotics and anti-cancer compounds from marine micro-organisms. “The diversity of the ocean environment provides great potential for discovery, particularly with a multi-disciplinary approach,” says Dr Duncan.

“We were honoured to host a group of such distinguished scientists,” says Cawthron Institute Senior Research Scientist, Dr Mike Packer. “The fact that they were interested in coming to Cawthron is testament to the reputation that we have established. We know that this will be maintained in part through maintaining strong connections with the very best scientists around the world. This visiting group are such a group within the field of algal biotech.”