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BBSRC encourages applications in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy

5 October 2011

BBSRC is hoping to receive high quality funding proposals for research that works towards developing new or improved biological processes for using living organisms and biological feedstocks to produce hydrocarbons. The first of three planned highlight notices is announced today (05 October 2011), two more are expected over the next 12 months.

Researchers working in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy as well as in related fields including systems biology, microbiology, biochemical engineering, and chemistry are encouraged to submit proposals to be considered through the standard BBSRC responsive mode system. These will be considered alongside all other responsive mode applications. The deadline for submission of proposals is 1600hrs 11 January 2012.

To support this, a one day Town meeting will be held on 2 November 2011 in London (registration required by 19 October 2011 - see below). This will be a chance to find out more about the highlight notice and take the opportunity to network with potential collaborators. The meeting is being organised with help from the Royal Society of Chemistry and EPSRC.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said "Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy is one of BBSRC's three top strategic priorities. This is an exciting area, which has the potential to contribute a great deal to the sustainability of hydrocarbons for energy, lubricants, and high value chemicals. A strong UK research base in this area would also support a burgeoning green economy.

"To develop our strength in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy we need researchers in related fields to think about how they can contribute to the field. So as well as those scientists who already work in this area we hope to see relevant proposals from those in a diverse community with expertise in microbiology, plant sciences, enzymology, metabolism, and more."

BBSRC hopes that innovative research programmes will help reduce our dependency on petrochemicals, thereby helping the UK to achieve targets for greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the knowledge-based bio-economy. For example, biofuels are currently the only alternative to fossil-derived fuels in certain modes of transport - long distance road, sea and air vehicles in particular. They also have the advantage of being compatible with existing infrastructure, making them a promising alternative if sustainable sources of feedstock and efficient processing can be developed quickly.

All proposals should take into consideration the energy, efficiency, sustainability, environmental impacts, and cost effectiveness of the biological process to produce target compounds.

Target compounds might include longer chain hydrocarbons including saturated, aromatic and branched chain molecules; or linear alkanes, isalkanes, alkenes, isalkenes, alkylbenzenes, cycloparaffines and napthalenes.

Studies of processes such as those found in bacteria, yeast, fungi, algae or plants are likely to form part of projects funded by BBSRC in this area. And a range of appropriate methodologies ought to be employed, such as synthetic biology, genetic modification, fermentation chemistry, metabolic control analysis, and plant breeding.

All applications are subject to BBSRC's standard responsive-mode eligibility criteria.

Applications should be submitted through the Resarch Councils UK Je-S (Joint electronic Submission) system before the BBSRC responsive mode grant applications deadline of 1600 on 11 January 2012

For more information see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2012/indbiotech-bioenergy-1.aspx

ENDS

About BBSRC

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk .
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes .