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Public sector and industry combine in funding boost for diet and health and green tech research

1 September 2009

A total of £7M funding has been announced today by 2 public-private collaborations led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC) will fund research into the relationship between what we eat and how healthy we are. The Integrated Biorefining Research and Technology Club (IBTI Club) will fund research into technology to help replace fossil fuel derived chemicals and consumer products with green alternatives. The clubs combine public funding from BBSRC and two other Research Councils, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), with contributions from more than 20 companies.

The partnership between the Research Councils and industry means that the clubs can ensure world-class science is brought to bear on issues and obstacles to the development of nutritionally enhanced foods and bioactive ingredients, or the development of technology to sustainably produce chemicals and consumer products from non-food crops. Understanding the underpinning research needs in these 2 important industrial sectors ensures that public funds are being used to maximum effect.

The Integrated Biorefining Research and Technology Club (IBTI Club) will award around £3M, a mixture of BBSRC, EPSRC and company contributions to bring together the biology, chemistry and engineering communities with the potential to solve some of the issues the sector currently faces, including challenges specific to the second generation of biorefining - the technology that could lead to the production of chemicals and materials  from agricultural and food waste and non-food crops instead of from fossil fuels. This is the IBTI Club's second call for research proposals and it has already invested £1.8M in research.

The Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC) has opened it's third call for proposals, aiming to award £4M of funding for research looking at how the UK food industry can develop healthier diets and address serious public health issues such as obesity, as well as looking at the benefits of bioactive ingredients in food. The funding for this final call is from BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC and industrial partners.

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director for Innovation and Skills, said: “How to find sustainable, economically viable biorefining technologies for the production of chemicals, materials and polymers to replace fossil fuels and how best to tackle chronic health problems associated with diet are two of the major questions of the day. Projects funded by these two calls will put UK science at the fore of answering such questions and providing possible solutions.

Working closely with companies is vital in ensuring networking and community building between academia and industry.”

DRINC and IBTI Club are two of BBSRC’s three research and technology clubs set up to support high quality, innovative research in areas identified as strategically important by BBSRC and Industry.

ENDS

About DRINC

A £10M, 5-year partnership between BBSRC and a consortium of leading companies (£1M), aimed at helping the food industry develop products that deliver enhanced health benefits for consumers. Calls for applications open on Tuesday 1 September and close on Thursday 26 November. More information can be found at www.bbsrc.ac.uk/drinc.

About IBTI Club

A £6M, 5-year partnership between BBSRC, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, a consortium of leading companies, and the Bioscience for Business Knowledge Transfer Network aimed at developing biological processes and feedstocks to reduce our current dependence on fossil fuels as a source of chemicals and materials. Calls for applications open on Wednesday 2 September and close on Thursday 5 November. More information can be found at www.bbsrc.ac.uk/ibticlub.

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 £450 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. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

Contact

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299
fax: 01793 413382

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382