BBSRC backs projects producing high-value chemicals from biotech

Wednesday 4th November 2020, 4:30pm

Projects using cutting edge biotechnology to produce high-value chemicals have received funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and two of these will benefit Roslin Innovation Centre based Ingenza Ltd and Green Bioactives. 



Ingenza team members in the lab at Roslin Innovation Centre - credit Ingenza

Nine projects have received a total of 2.2m in funding, plus a further 555k support from industrial partners. 

The funding has been awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under its Industrial Biotechnology for Improving Production of Higher Value Chemicals programme to support short collaborative projects of between 12 to 24 months with a value up to 250k. 



The University of Edinburgh are grant holders to two of the BBSRC funded projects, collaborating with Roslin Innovation Centre based Ingenza Ltd and Green Bioactives:

  • Sustainable cold expression of cleaning enzymes (249,924.14) a collaboration between Diageo plc, Unilever and Ingenza Ltd
  • Development of an improved bio manufacturing platform for a key pharmaceutical (227,091.51) a collaboration with Green Bioactives

The projects based around the UK all seek to use ingenious scientific methods to bring chemical products to market, many with sustainable manufacturing practices. This could result in lower carbon emissions and meet consumer demand for more sustainable products, which move away from using fossil-based carbon.

Academic institutions have teamed with commercial partners in this programme, to propose new ways of producing products for the vital UK chemical industry. This sector of the economy generates 9bn gross value added (GVA) per year, employs 105,000 people, and is one of the highest energy intensive industrial sectors.

"The chemical industry faces challenges to become more sustainable and lower its carbon emissions whilst also providing better quality and more affordable chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The scale of this challenge is matched by the ingenuity and innovation of our biotech sector. Leading academics in this field have partnered with industry to propose fascinating potential solutions. By backing the best of British research and innovation BBSRC demonstrates how science is crucial to society and the economy."

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Executive Chair

Projects to receive the funding include:

  • One that seeks to produce improved enzymes from waste, which could be used in cleaning products
  • One that seeks to produce rose fragrance for perfumes in a more efficient way
  • Two that seek a biotech route to producing anti-cancer drugs
  • One that seeks to develop an enzyme that repels crop-eating pests
  • One that looks for new ways to produce bioplastic


View the full BBSRC list of grant holders under the Industrial Biotechnology for Improving Production of Higher Value Chemicals programme.