UK establishes three new synthetic biology research centers

Three new multidisciplinary research centres in synthetic biology will be established in Bristol, Nottingham and through a Cambridge/Norwich partnership, thanks to funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The £40M+ investment will be formally announced by Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts tonight at a BBSRC event in London to mark the achievements and impact of UK bioscience over the last 20 years.

The BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centres will receive funding over five years to boost national synthetic biology research capacity and ensure that there is diverse expertise to stimulate innovation in this area. The centres will: offer a strong collaborative culture; provide essential state-of-the-art equipment, facilities, trained researchers and technical staff; drive advancement in modern synthetic biology research; and develop new technologies.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, said: “Synthetic biology is one of the most promising areas of modern science, which is why we have identified it as one of the eight great British technologies of the future. Synthetic biology has the potential to drive economic growth but still remains relatively untapped and these new centres will ensure that the UK is at the forefront when it comes to commercialising these new technologies.”

£10M was allocated to the synthetic biology research centres following the announcement of £600M capital investment for Research Councils in the autumn 2012 statement. BBSRC will fund just over 70% of the remaining costs and EPSRC is providing nearly 30%.

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