• Unlocking the UK’s engineering biology potential
    Science, Research and Innovation Minister Andrew Griffith visiting the new GlycoCell Hub. Credit: University of Nottingham

News & Views

Unlocking the UK’s engineering biology potential

Feb 14 2024

Andrew Griffith, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation has announced six new Engineering Biology Mission Hubs and 22 Mission Awards to transform solutions in areas like vaccine, textile and food production. The hubs will play a key role in achieving the goals of government’s national vision for engineering biology that was announced in December 2023.

Engineering biology has enormous potential to address global challenges, drive economic growth, and increase national security, resilience and preparedness. The hubs will each receive up to £12 million from the UKRI Technology Missions Fund and UKRI and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) core budgets. Funded for five years and involving multiple academic and industrial partners, the hubs will be led by;

  • Cranfield University
  • Imperial College London
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • University of Kent
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Portsmouth

During a visit to the new GlycoCell Hub based at the University of Nottingham, the Minister discovered how it is helping to exploit engineering biology for production of ion of new vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, by industrialising the bio-manufacture of sugar biomolecules crucial to their development. This hub aims to deliver a platform that will be central to UK epidemic preparedness.

Announcing the Minister said: Engineering biology has the power to transform our health and environment, from developing life-saving medicines to protecting our environment and food supply and beyond.

“Our latest £100m investment through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund will unlock projects as diverse as developing vaccines, as I saw in Nottingham this week, preventing food waste through disease resistant crops, reducing plastic pollution, and even driving efforts to treat snakebites.

“With new Hubs and Mission Awards spread across the country, from Edinburgh to Portsmouth, we are supporting ambitious researchers and innovators around the UK in pioneering groundbreaking new solutions which can transform how we live our lives, while growing our economy.

“The hubs will be complemented by a series of mission awards that will fund projects for two years and receive a share of £30 million funding. The awards aim to create an expansion of engineering biology disciplines and communities, building on existing UK strengths and emerging opportunities.”

More information online

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