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UK highlighted as a synthetic biology hotspot

Posted on 31/01/2019

A SynBioBeta article has highlighted the UK's world-leading synthetic biology research and companies.

The UK has placed itself at the forefront of the emerging field of synthetic biology over the last few years, with Government, research and industry support demonstrated by the publication of the 2012 Strategic Roadmap for Synthetic Biology in the UK (2012), and the UK Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology (2016).

An article by Jenna E. Gallegos on the SynBioBeta website demonstrates that the UK’s commitment to investment in this exciting area is being recognised across the world. The article flags up centres of research excellence in the UK, and the vast array of synthetic biology start-up companies working on a diversity of products, from pharmaceuticals to wastewater cleanup, or tackling difficult challenges such as 3D printing of tissues or cellular ageing.

Our world-class synthetic biology research facilities must be given due credit for creating spin-off companies, and for providing support for budding entrepreneurs. SynbiCITE, the Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for Synthetic Biology based at Imperial College London, regularly runs programmes such as its Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (LEAP) and a 4 day MBA ‘More Business Acumen’ course. The Bristol BioDesign Institute has recently issued a call for Innovation Placements to give early career researchers (ECRs) the experience of working in growing synthetic biology companies.

UK synthetic biology companies are also being officially recognised through international awards. For example, Sphere Fluidics’ Cyto-Mine technology was named in the top 10 innovations of 2018 by The Scientist and is now a finalist in the Medicine Maker Innovation Awards. The CEO of CustoMem, a SynbiCITE spin-out company, has been listed in the MIT TechReview “Innovators Under 35” list.

The UK Government established the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) to provide a visible point for strategic coordination between the funding agencies, the research community, industry, government sponsors and other stakeholders, including societal and ethical representatives. Secretariat of the SBLC is provided through Innovate UK by the Synthetic Biology Special Interest Group (SynBioSIG).

If you are interested in keeping up to date on synthetic biology activities, please sign up for the SynBioSIG newsletter here.

You can read Jenna E. Gallegoes’ full article here.

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