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Minister praises York’s bioeconomy test bed

Posted on 23 February 2015

The Minister for Universities, Sciences and Cities, Greg Clark, visited the University of York’s Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to see how it was helping to place the region at the leading edge of the bioeconomy.

Minister for Universities, Sciences and Cities, Greg Clark, chats to Alex Jukes who is working on extracting valuable chemicals from tomato plant leaves during his visit to the Biorenewables Development Centre at the University of York. Photo: Ian Martindale.Minister for Universities, Sciences and Cities, Greg Clark, chats to Alex Jukes who is working on extracting valuable chemicals from tomato plant leaves (credit: Ian Martindale)

Accompanied by BDC Director Dr Joe Ross and the chair of its management board, Professor Ian Graham, Mr Clark toured the open access scale up facilities. Dr Ross and Professor Graham briefed him on the work that has been undertaken since a major £2.5M investment from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2012.

The Minister inspected plans for a new £20M BioVale Centre to be established at the University of York over the next 2 years with support from the the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding  and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnerships.  The BioVale Centre will act as the hub of a BioVale Cluster that will bring together agriculture, industry and the knowledge base to establish Yorkshire as a world-leading bioeconomy region.

Mr Clark said: “I am delighted to have had the chance to visit this innovative centre and to meet those working at the forefront of the biorenewables industry. Through bringing ambitious businesses together with leading academics, the centre is supporting the UK’s ambition to grow a high value bioeconomy, and I look forward to seeing its progress.”

Professor Graham, who is also Head of the University’s Department of Biology, said:  “It was a pleasure to present some of our world class research to the Minister and to highlight some of the work that led to Biology at York being ranked first for impact in the 2014 Government review of research excellence across UK universities.”

Dr Ross added: “It was great to have an opportunity to show the Minister some of the work the BDC has been doing to support regional SMEs and connect them with our University expertise, particularly in Biology and Chemistry.  There is huge demand from industry to develop new bio-based processes and products and the BDC, along with the newly established BioVale Cluster, is now meeting that demand and helping to grow the region’s economy.”

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