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The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to invest £45m in major integrated research and development projects through the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst.

Catalysts provide funding to innovative businesses and researchers working in priority areas with the aim of helping them to quickly turn excellent UK research into new or improved commercial processes and products.

The Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst programme will accelerate commercialisation by supporting the development of new industrial biotechnology products and processes, and enabling their potential scale-up. It will support R&D for the processing and production of materials, chemicals and bioenergy through the sustainable exploitation of biological resources. We are particularly encouraging a collaborative approach.

There are five types of award:

  • early stage: translation (academic led)
  • early stage: feasibility studies (academic or business led)
  • industrial research (academic or business led)
  • late stage: pre-experimental feasibility studies (business led)
  • late stage: experimental development (business led)

Total project sizes can range from up to £250k for feasibility studies to up to £10m for experimental development.

Projects should address one or more of the following challenges using biological processes, or processes in which biological and chemical approaches are used in combination:

  • production of fine and speciality chemicals and natural products (for example fragrances, flavours and pharmaceutical intermediates)
  • production of commodity, platform and intermediate chemicals and materials (for example plastics, resins and textiles)
  • production of liquid and gaseous biofuels
  • production of peptides and proteins (for example enzymes, antibiotics and recombinant biologics)
  • novel or improved upstream or downstream processes to reduce costs or improve efficiency.

The first round of funding from the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst opens for applicants on 20 January 2014. The deadline for registration is noon on 7 May 2014 and the deadline for applications for expressions of interest is noon on 14 May 2014.

A launch event will be held in London on 3 February 2014 (also available as a webinar) and a second briefing event will be held in York on 12 February 2014.

Source: _connect

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