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  • Writer's pictureBioYorkshire

Scientists to deliver bio-based solutions to key industry challenges

Two University of York research projects have been awarded funding, as part of a £42 million programme, to work with industry partners in co-developing new sustainable technologies for health care, agriculture, cosmetics and wastewater treatment.



Working with Croda Europe Ltd, a specialist chemical company, Professor Ian Graham, from the University’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products in the Department of Biology, will co-develop new sustainable technologies to improve the performance of new medicines, increase food production and help reduce the use of ingredients in cosmetic formulations from unsustainable sources.

The project is part of the BioYorkshire programme, which aims to deliver a new green agenda to create jobs and boost the regional economy through sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.



Sustainable production


Professor Graham said: “This funding will enable us to develop sustainable production platforms for bioactive chemicals from plants that have the potential to replace petrochemical derived products across a range of industrial sectors.”

In the second project, Professor James Chong, from the University’s Department of Biology, will work with Yorkshire Water Services Ltd, to understand how groups of microorganisms respond to design and process engineering in wastewater treatment. The project will result in digital models to help improve anaerobic digestion - a process through which bacteria break down organic matter - such as animal and food wastes - in the absence of oxygen. 



Innovation


Professor Chong said: "Through this new award we will be able to develop and enhance the biobased technologies used to recover resources from wastewater.  Our partnership with Yorkshire Water provides a route for lab-based results to be rapidly applied as process innovations."

The two projects, along with eight others, are supported by £17 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and is part of its first round of bioscience prosperity partnership funding, including funds from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).  This UKRI cross-council investment has been further supported by more than £21 million invested by industry partners.



Growing economies


Science, Research and Innovation Minister, Andrew Griffith, said: “Our new bioscience prosperity partnerships are a valuable opportunity for government, business and academia to come together and help unleash world-class, pioneering discoveries across the UK while growing our local economies.”

Dr Lee Beniston FRSB, Associate Director for Industry Partnerships and Collaborative R&D at BBSRC, said: “The projects supported will deliver on UK ambitions for private sector investment in research and innovation as outlined in the Science and Technology Framework, helping to drive economic growth and societal impact through key bioscience and biotechnology sectors and industries.”

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