CNAP - Centre for Novel Agricultural Products                                            Biology to benefit society

Research underpinning the development of plants and microbes as green factories is focused in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), based in the Department of Biology at the University of York. Founded in 1999 with the help of a benefaction from the Garfield Weston Foundation, CNAP is an award winning, internationally recognised centre delivering research excellence with impact. Research is undertaken by around 80 staff and students in a highly distinctive academic environment, led by four professors:  Ian BancroftNeil BruceIan Graham and Simon McQueen-Mason (CNAP Director).

Biorenewables are a major research focus of CNAP, with well-established programmes in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy encompassing areas such as plant oils and high value chemicals for a range of industrial applications, along with projects aimed at biomass development for use as biofuels.  We routinely use molecular breeding technologies for the rapid improvement of both domesticated and wild species for food and other high value chemical based applications. For example, over the past six years the CNAP Artemisia Research Project has successfully developed new varieties of the medicinal plant Artemisia annua; the primary source of the leading anti-malarial drug artemisinin ( 

                                   ‌‌‌Artemisia Young Plants

Building on the successful CNAP model, the University of York has recently established the Biorenewables Development Centre as a not-for profit company that provides industry with new processes to convert plants and biowastes into high value products ( 

CNAP receives support for specific research programmes from a range of sources including the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, EU framework programmes, government departments and industry.

Professor Ian Graham, CNAP Director‌ 2008- 2013                             (Professor Simon McQueen-Mason took over as CNAP Director from 1st January 2014)

Recent news:

Forces News TV interview Neil Bruce on his research into a plant-based solution to clean up soil pollution caused by explosives.

Bruce-Forces Video Link

Continuing collaboration paves the way for a new generation of biofuels.

Celebration of world-leading bioscience - BBSRC profiles Simon and his work.

New study by international team offers insights into the underpinning molecular processes of this important crop species.

A team led by Neil Bruce is in the final of the 2014 BBSRC Innovator of the Year competition in recognition of their work on developing plants to clean up land polluted with explosives.

High oleic hemp oil

CNAP scientists led by Ian Graham report development of hemp plants yielding high quality oil for use in cooking and industrial applications.

BBSRC have just announced funding awards for Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB). Two of these will be led by CNAP professors - Plant Biomass Biorefinery Network (Simon McQueen-Mason); High Value Chemicals from Plants Network (Ian Graham). 

oilseed rape (credit: Stewart Black - flickr/s2ublack)

£10m funding has been awarded for major projects led by CNAP professors. Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC's Chief Executive, stated: "This public funding offers long-term support to address major research challenges, while building research capacity in important areas and maximising economic and social benefits for the UK."





News archive


Latest News

New Innovate UK biotech funding award    Business Secretary Vince Cable unveils biotechnology competition winners, including an Ian Graham led diterpenoid project.

Mother plant 'teaches' its seeds when best to germinate    CNAP and Exeter researchers find that mother plant passes temperature memory to seeds.

Major new oilseed rape and mustard rape project 


CNAP scientists and colleagues aim to improve Brassica crops for challenging environments.

Improved straw for biofuel production    Important step for improved manufacture of biofuels reported by CNAP team. 


CNAP Artemisia Project web site advert and link



CNAP Director, Professor Simon McQueen-Mason

CNAP Manager, Dr Caroline Calvert

CNAP, Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK