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University of York secures major investment to accelerate bio-based innovations in Yorkshire

Posted on 18 June 2015

The University of York has secured over £2M of Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) funding to help grow the UK’s bioeconomy. HEFCE has provided £2.4m from its Catalyst Fund, which will be invested in a programme to bridge the gap between the world-class science base at the University of York and the needs of industry to develop and scale-up new greener processes and products.

BioVale

As interest in sustainable resources grows, the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, biofuels, chemicals and other materials -- the bioeconomy-- is creating multibillion pound markets. The new funding will help UK businesses, particularly those based in Yorkshire and Humber, capitalise on these new opportunities. It will stimulate sustainable economic growth, encourage inward investment and create high-value jobs. The funding will be invested in the following:

  • A technical programme of academic and business engagement to help companies develop novel bio-based processes and products.
  • BioVale, a new innovation cluster that develops and promotes innovation for the bioeconomy across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Additional funding and support is being sought from the University of York, the City of York Council and through the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Professor Deborah Smith, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York and Chair of the BioVale steering group, said: “This funding is critical to establish the entrepreneurship and technology transfer needed to boost the UK bioeconomy and strengthen the links between the regional research base and bio-based industry.” 

Dr Joe Ross, Director of both BioVale and the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) said: “We know from our work in the BDC that there is strong demand from the private sector for technical support, open-access scale-up facilities and a route into the region’s exceptional research in the biorenewables sector. This new funding will help us deliver all this and more.”

David Sweeney, HEFCE Director for Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange, said: “HEFCE’s investment will secure the academic benefits of the BioVale project, particularly to support research and knowledge exchange innovations alongside the industry initiative.”

Further information:

  • BioVale is an initiative to develop and promote innovation for the bioeconomy across Yorkshire and the Humber.  It is a non-profit company, led by a steering group with representatives from industry, academia and local government. http://www.biovale.org/
  • The BDC bridges the gap between the world-class science base at the University of York and the needs of industry to develop and scale-up new greener processes and products. http://www.biorenewables.org/

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