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Science Minister visits University of York’s BioYorkshire initiative

Posted on 11 March 2022

Science Minister George Freeman today (March 11) visited the BioYorkshire initiative - a partnership between University of York, Fera Science and Askham Bryan College - aiming to transform York and North Yorkshire into the UK’s first carbon negative region and be a hub for green innovation, skills development and inward investment.

Science Minister George Freeman MPDr Alexandra Lanot explains her research on sustainable textiles to Science Minister George Freeman and Emma Lindsell from UK Research and Innovation.

As part of his visit, the Minister visited Azotic Technologies, a hi-tech company that has strategically chosen to relocate to the outskirts of York to be closer to the University’s expertise in the bioeconomy, and adds to the already burgeoning cluster of companies driving Yorkshire’s strengths in this area.


Azotic Technologies has chosen to co-locate alongside the University of York’s Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) at Dunnington to gain access to the centre’s expertise as the company continues to expand and innovate.

Founded in 2012, the company is currently based in Nottingham. The relocation to the BDC site at Dunnington is part of a £10m expansion, bringing their existing 14-strong team to the city, with a further 20 to 30 high-skilled jobs created.

Building work has already begun on the new Azotic facilities, which specialises in natural bacterial nitrogen fixation to address the problems associated with modern fertilisers including nitrogen pollution.


The company has pioneered N-Fix technology which allows plants to substitute the nitrogen found in the soil in highly polluting chemical fertiliser with nitrogen found naturally in the atmosphere. The technology is environmentally-friendly, reduces costs and is proven to increase crop yields.

Mr Freeman visited the new Azotic site as part of a wider visit to the University, and in particular, to see and hear more about our pioneering initiative to deliver green economic growth for the region via BioYorkshire.

BioYorkshire’s vision is to propel the region into growing a vibrant and dynamic bioeconomy - using renewable, biological resources to create greener products which minimise waste and reduce our reliance on fossil fuel.

Harnessing the expertise of scientists and industry experts, BioYorkshire will deliver a bold new green agenda to create jobs, boost the regional economy - and develop sustainable solutions for some of the UK’s most pressing environmental challenges.


The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: “This announcement from Azotic is fantastic news for the city and region and demonstrates the power of BioYorkshire in action - harnessing the expertise of our researchers and scientists with the commercial and technological know-how of a hi-tech company to drive innovation, environmental sustainability and economic growth. 

“BioYorkshire offers the potential to build on the University of York’s world-class research and expertise in the bioeconomy to support the ambition for York and North Yorkshire to become the UK’s first carbon negative region.”


Steve Pearson, Chief Operating Officer at Azotic Technologies, said: “To scale up our R&D and prove our ideas for a biological based nitrogen fertiliser alternative we needed access to specific lab equipment and expertise that we didn't have in-house. 

“The solution was to hire and build new lab and office space at the Biorenewables Development Centre. This fantastic opportunity has given Azotic Technologies access to the high-spec equipment including fermentation, analytical equipment, protein purification and plant growth cabinets all adjacent to our new premises.”

The Minister began his visit to York with a tour of the University's Biology labs to see York’s long standing and pioneering strengths in plant science, industrial biotechnology applications, engineering biology, food systems and therapeutics.


Science Minister, George Freeman, said: “It’s great to be here today at the University of York’s Biorenewables Development Centre, at the heart of the fast-growing Yorkshire Bioeconomy Cluster.

“Azotic Technologies’ move to Dunnington, alongside the University’s impressive expertise in the bioeconomy, represents exactly the kind of academic and commercial collaboration we are supporting across the country as part of our £25bn Science & Innovation budget for the next three years, to drive our Innovation Nation and Levelling Up plans.

 “Science, research and innovation lie at the heart of our ambition to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, and initiatives like this one are evidence that the UK holds some of the world’s greatest talent in the green innovation field. It is essential that we continue to harness this expertise across the whole country - including rural areas like Yorkshire - leveraging our leading research base to solve global challenges, while also supporting jobs and local economies across all four corners of the UK."




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