Great news for Great Britain’s synthetic biology

UK synthetic biology

British government will inject the impressive amount of £40M to reinforce UK’s leading position in synthetic biology.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced a £40M investment in UK synthetic biology at the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology. The majority of this investment, £32M, will be used to establish three new Synthetic Biology Research Centres at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester and the University of Warwick. The three new centres will receive funding for the next five years to boost national research capacity and to ensure that there is the expertise to nurture the growing synthetic biology industry in the UK.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, was interviewed at Manchester University:

Previous government investments through the research councils have placed the UK on the leading edge of this area. In fact, synthetic biology has been identified by the UK Government as one of the ‘Eight Great Technologies‘ in which Great Britain could be a world leader.

The investment comes from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and capital investment from UK Government.

BBSRC Chief Executive, Jackie Hunter, said: “Through previous investments BBSRC, along with funding partners, has been able to position the UK as a world leader in Synthetic Biology. This new package of investments will ensure that the UK maintains this leadership position and continues to drive the potential of synthetic biology to contribute to the economy and society.

BBSRC has also awarded £8M to research partnerships across the UK to help create the building blocks of synthetic biology – the synthetic fragments of DNA needed to create useful biological components. The funding will build capacity in DNA synthesis through partnerships at the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Liverpool, Oxford, Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton, Imperial College and The Genome Analysis Centre.

These new investments will foster the development of tools and technologies to better understand the biology of health and disease, and also to engineer new systems to develop new bio-therapeutics and biosensors for health. Apart from the applications in medicine, synthetic biology has also endless uses in agricultural chemicals and increasing crop production. This fundraising will serve to enhance UK strengths in this exciting area.

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