Recognition of departmental research in industry response to Government

Posted on 29 September 2015

GSK recently submitted a paper to BIS and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in response to the Government consultation on the comprehensive spending review which specifically mentions research carried out in the Biology Department.

GSK Australia's Opiates Division Head of R&D, Tim Bowser, undertook an 18-month secondment in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) through a BBSRC Industrial Partnership Award and their Flexible Interchange Programme (FLIP). The project focused on the production of high-value chemicals from plants to accelerate knowledge transfer from academia to industry in industrial biotechnology and agricultural feedstock development.

Dr Malcolm Skingle, GSK's Director of Academic Liaison said: "GSK value their interactions with the UK science base who continue to out-perform the majority of the science bases in other countries.  Our R&D scientists and our global manufacturing employees rely heavily on the expertise and technology available in UK universities and research institutions, including the collaboration with Biology at York."

Professor Ian Graham, Head of the Biology Department, who led the research in CNAP said: "We value the opportunity offered by working closely with industry to carry out world class research with impact. This collaboration has led to a recent publication in Science, as well as knowledge and tools that can be used by industry to improve pharmaceutical production."

Notes to editors:

  • The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) is an award winning strategic research centre based in the Department of Biology at the University of York. CNAP is dedicated to realizing the potential of plants as renewable, low-cost factories that produce high-value chemicals and biofuels. Laboratory based discoveries are translated into practice in partnership with industry.
  • The Department of Biology at the University of York achieves excellence in teaching that is inspired by world class research with impact. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise the Department was ranked first in the UK for impact of its research outside academia – the research has had major influence on environmental policy, industry and health.
  • GlaxoSmithKline in Australia is one of the world's leading producers of opiate-based raw materials, supplying around 20% of the global needs. The research collaboration with the University of York is targeted at improving the productivity of all useful opiate products including morphine, codeine and thebaine as well as noscapine, which is a non-opiate.