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IBTI Club: Background

Research supporting the development of biological, chemical and engineering processes for the production of chemicals, materials and polymers to replace petro-chemical derived sources was identified as an area where increased investment in research is required to underpin the needs of industry.

To meet this need we launched a research and technology club in partnership with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, industry and the Bioscience for Business Knowledge Transfer Network (now Biosciences KTN). The club interfaced with the KTN's wider activities in industrial biotechnology and invested around £6M (BBSRC £4M, EPSRC £1.2M, Industry £660K) in industrially relevant, innovative, basic biological, chemical and engineering research in biorefining technologies.

The initiative ran for five years and had three calls for proposals.

The club provided a means to combine relevant academic expertise to work on innovative, multidisciplinary, scientific areas of relevance to industry. An integral feature of the club's operation was the delivery of efficient mechanisms to facilitate the dissemination of research outcomes to club members and support effective networking and community building between academic groups and the companies involved.

An academic-facing and an industrial-focussed coordinator enabled the networking and dissemination aspects of the Club's activities.

Abstracts from all three calls are available in the downloads section of this page.

Members

The club has nine company members:

  • BP Biofuels UK Ltd
  • British Sugar Plc
  • Croda Enterprises Ltd
  • Green Biologics Ltd
  • HGCA
  • InCrops
  • KWS UK Ltd
  • Syngenta Ltd
  • TMO Renewables Ltd

Steering Group and management

The Steering Group is composed of a Chair, 7 industry members, nominated by the industry membership, and 7 academic members, nominated by BBSRC. The current Steering Group is:

Chair

Peter Fryer, University of Birmingham

Industry members

  • Damian Kelly, Croda
  • Dave Hughes, Syngenta
  • Ian Tebble, TMO Renewables Ltd/Rebio Technologies Ltd 
  • Harley Stoddart, HGCA
  • Peter Werner, KWS UK
  • Preben Krabben, Green Biologics Ltd
  • Namdar Baghaei-Yazdi, Independent

Academic members

  • Alexei Lapkin, University of Cambridge
  • Mike Bushell, University of Surrey
  • Rob Edwards, Newcastle University
  • Simon McQueen-Mason, The University of York
  • James Clark, Independent 
  • Jonathan Napier, Rothamsted Research
  • Gill Stephens, The University of Nottingham

Benefits

The club is more than the sum of the research projects it funded and led to the development of innovative biorefining technologies to feed into demonstration projects and establish new capabilities for industry. Companies who participated in the club benefited directly through:

  • Influencing research areas supported by the club
  • Gaining up-to-date knowledge on the progress of research and early access to results
  • Opportunities to work with leading researchers
  • Opportunities to identify the best potential industry recruits
  • Promotion of the clubs activities, objectives and outputs and recognition for companies involvement

For academic researchers the benefits included:

  • Opportunities to interact with industry
  • Access to industrial expertise and materials
  • A targeted source of research funding