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It's forecast to increase IB-related turnover to up to £3 billion by 2030, create 1500 jobs within five years and put Scotland at the forefront of a global transformation. Meet the new centre for sustainable high-value manufacturing: IBioIC.


The global market for industrial biotechnology (IB) is worth £360 billion. It will be dominated by those who create commercially viable products, processes, or sustainable feedstocks – those companies and academic institutions that can find and commercialise solutions for high-value manufacturing. 

Scotland’s got plenty of these companies and institutions, and there are lots of funding opportunities for those that want to take an IB project from a low to high technology readiness level (TRL). The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) will bring them all together: making it easy, swift, and effective for industrial and academic partners to work together.

IBioIC will be a single portal for IB projects, assisting with everything from securing funding to project management and collaboration. It will be open to companies of all sizes – from start-ups to multinational giants.

IBioIC chairman Ian Shott explains his ambitions for the centre, as well as for Scotland’s place in the global network of IB-related activity: “We have the ambition to be truly distinctive, world-leading and responsive to the market and technology needs of industry. Furthermore, the networks that IBioIC members bring to the partnership will be consolidated and extended to enhance connectivity and collaboration with industrial biotechnology centres worldwide.”

Through the IBioIC Scotland can be at the forefront of global transformational change.

John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth

The centre will focus on projects that develop solutions for the manufacturing of the high-value products including speciality and commodity chemicals. Whether that’s process intensification or making development cycles shorter, these IB projects will make businesses more competitive. IB will enable companies to use less water, less energy, more renewable raw materials and compact production pathways, as well as reduce their  waste.

IBioIC will focus on all aspects of bio-processing, using process-ready organisms to valorize sustainable feedstocks. Added to this will be the intellectual input of 13 Higher Education Institutions: which all makes for an entity with the skills, knowledge, and means to take novel technology from low to high TRL.

So what will be the broader outcome of all this? Ian Shott: “We aim to surpass the targets set by Scotland’s National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology by raising the estimated turnover of industrial biotechnology-related products from around £190 million currently, to between £2 billion and £3 billion by 2030.”

IBioIC will focus on projects that make use of renewable feedstocks, like seaweed.

IBioIC will help to increase the use of sustainable feedstocks. 

An expanding biotechnology industry

The centre is one part of a much wider concept for the future of Scotland’s economy. Finance Secretary John Swinney, speaking at the launch of the centre, said: “The creation of 1,500 new jobs is a fantastic boost for Scotland’s expanding biotechnology industry. Scotland’s chemical industry is the country’s second top exporter – equating to £3.7 billion per year – while Scotland’s life sciences sector is one of the largest and fastest-growing in Europe. 

“The launch of IBioIC is predicted to add £130 million to the Scottish economy and will allow Scotland to be at the forefront of global transformational change from a largely fossil fuel-based to an industrial biotechnology-inclusive economy."

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council and supported by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, IBioIC will be hosted at Strathclyde University. It is a key element of the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology – Towards a Greener, Cleaner 2025

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