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Research Councils and industry launch new club to support industrially-relevant research in bioprocessing

22 July 2005

A new club to bring together industry and the research community to support innovative industrially-relevant bioprocessing research and help the UK’s bioscience and engineering base transfer knowledge to the bioprocessing sector is holding its first meeting today. The new Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC) will fund around £10M of research in bioprocessing over the next 5 years with the research agenda being directed by a steering committee with equal academic and industry representation.

The club is backed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and 16 companies and other interested organisations. BBSRC is contributing £6M and EPSRC £3M to the club with the companies making contributions depending on their size.

Dr Doug Yarrow, BBSRC Director of Corporate Science, said, “As well as funding the highest quality industrially-relevant research the BRIC provides a mechanism to ensure dissemination of results and encourage exchange of views between industry and academic groups.”

Dr Lizzy Hylton, EPSRC Life Science Interface Programme Manager, said, “The research required by the UK bioscience base in this area demands a highly interdisciplinary approach, bringing together biosciences, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. The Club will help to bring these disciplines together to work on scientific questions affecting the whole biotechnology industry.”

Professor John Birch, Lonza Biopharmaceuticals Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Steering Group, said, “Enhanced research in bioprocessing will help develop the biomanufacturing approaches taken by the UK’s world-leading pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology companies and encourage closer ties between industry and UK academia.”

Management of the Club is being carried out by bioProcessUK, the Department of Trade and Industry-funded bioprocessing Knowledge Transfer Network.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The Bioprocessing Research Industry Club is a grouping under which the Research Councils and industry can come together to put money into a joint pot. The funding will be used to support research projects in universities in areas of relevance to industry.

A Steering Group of the Club will draw up calls for proposals, inviting full or outline bids from the academic community. The Steering Group will peer review the proposals based on the quality of science and strategic importance. The peer review process will be managed by BBSRC in conjunction with EPSRC. Successful projects will be funded as Research Council grants.

The Steering Group will meet for the first time in September 2005. Membership of the Steering Group will be 50 per cent nominated by BBSRC and EPSRC and 50 per cent nominated by the industrial members.

Membership subscriptions of industrial members of the Club are based on size of company. Subscriptions range from £20,000 a year for a company of more than 500 employees to £2,000 a year for a company of less than 20 employees.

Founding industry members of the Club include large pharmaceutical companies and small and medium-sized biotechnology companies.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

About EPSRC

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £500 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. http://www.epsrc.ac.uk

About bioProcessUK

BioProcessUK is the DTI funded Knowledge Transfer Network in Bioprocessing. In January 2005 it was awarded £3 million over 4 years to following its bid to the DTI technology programme. BioProcessUK operates as a division of the UK BioIndustry Association and follows the recommendation by the BIA/DTI/DH-led Bioscience 2015 report that the UK builds a strong bioprocessing sub-sector ( http://www.bioindustry.org/). The first step will be to foster community development, harnessing the expertise in the country to deliver an internationally competitive sector. The outputs of bioProcessUK will be to:

  • Develop young scientists and bioprocess leaders in the field of bioprocessing
  • Benchmark UK bioprocessing
  • Develop a clear and increasing profile for UK bioprocessing
  • Support the development of the UK’s bioprocessing research & knowledge base
  • Develop a consolidated viewpoint on what the UK Government could do to assist bioprocessing

Contact

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299
fax: 01793 413382

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382