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£5m funding boost to give the bio-economy THYME to grow further in Northern England.

Posted on Apr 3, 2018 8:51:00 PM

The BDC team in York working in their fermentation laboratories. Pictured Alex Jukes and Rosie Nolan (Pic courtsesy of BDC).“We believe that switching to a circular economy based on bio-renewable materials will provide major benefits for the environment, for human health and for the economy – and that the North has the assets and the knowledge to lead the change.”

Northern England has received a major boost to its fast developing bio-economy with the University of York confirming it’s to lead on a £5million project to develop it across Yorkshire, the Humber region and the Tees Valley. The three year project say the funding will boost the region’s economy, create jobs and deliver major environmental benefit and will build on the existing expertise and innovation in the region in a new collaboration between the Universities of York, Hull and Teesside. With many of companies in the bio-economy beginning with discoveries at university, the THYME project is part of a multi-million pound investment package to drive commercialisation from academia across the country through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF).

In partnership with regional industry, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the wider community, the THYME project (Teesside, Hull and York - Mobilising Bioeconomy Knowledge Exchange ) has three key themes:

  • Transform: Produce high-value products from bio-based wastes and by-products
  • Convert: Re-purpose industrial sites for bio-based manufacturing
  • Grow: Increase productivity by reducing waste and energy use, adding value to by-products and developing better products using industrial biotechnology.
  • The project is being led by the University of York and will be delivered in partnership with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) and BioVale.

Professor Jon Timmis, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange at the University of York, said: “This project builds on our world-leading expertise in the bio-economy here at York and the wider region. The University is committed to being a key player in regional growth, and this project provides an excellent opportunity for the University to help deliver that commitment."

BDC Director, Joe Ross, added:”There’s growing interest in shifting away from a traditional, linear, fossil-based economy that has, for example, littered the planet with plastics. We believe that switching to a circular economy based on bio-renewable materials will provide major benefits for the environment, for human health and for the economy – and that the North has the assets and the knowledge to lead the change.”

A recent Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) of the bio-economy in the North of England, revealed there are over 16,000 bio-economy related companies in the North of England, with a total annual turnover of over £91 billion, employing around 415,000 people.

The bio-economy is estimated to be worth £220 Billion GVA in the UK alone, and the government’s industrial strategy is setting ambitious targets to double its size by 2030.


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Luke Upton
Luke Upton
Luke is the editor and co-founder of Bio-Based World has edited this site since its launch and previously worked for b2b media companies across industries including energy, advertising and sport. His ...read more