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Synthetic Biology Leadership Council

Bringing together funding agencies, research community, industry, government and other stakeholders for strategic coordination of UK synthetic biology

The UK Government established the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) to provide a steering structure governance body to assess progress and update recommendations and shape priorities for future implementation of the synthetic biology roadmap for the UK.

The SBLC provides 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.

The SBLC is committed to hold an open meeting once a year, which enables the wider synbio community to attend and give their thoughts on latest synbio developments and ask SBLC members any questions.

This year’s open meeting took place on November 12th 2019 in London, and minutes will be published once available.

Minutes from previous meetings can be downloaded here.


Synbio in the UK – A decade of developments

A report launched by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2009, highlighted synbio as an emerging and enabling technology, capable of providing cross sector solutions in areas ranging from health and chemicals to agritech and materials to name a few.

A decade on, there has been:

  • an investment of more than £300m of public funding into synthetic biology research and capability in the UK.
  • the establishment of six Synthetic Biology Research Centres (SBRCs), five DNA synthesis facilities, centres for doctoral training and a dedicated Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) ensuring the education and maintenance of a skilled synbio research base and
  • publication of further synbio documents with the ‘Roadmap for Synbio in 2012’ and ‘Biodesign for the Bioeconomy in 2016’ a strategic plan for UK synthetic biology to translate the synbio opportunities into commercial outcomes.
  • formation of over 150 Start-up and spin out Synbio companies.
  • establishment of a synbio community and network through KTN’s Synbio SIG

The Synthetic Biology Leadership Council published an achievement brochure highlighting UK synbio activities in the last 10 years. Download the brochure here.


Who are the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council?

The Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) is jointly chaired by Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and member of the House of Lords) and Prof Lionel Clarke.

Members of the SBLC include:


Secretariat: Dana Heldt (Knowledge Transfer Network)


Sponsors and Partners

Support for the SBLC is provided by Innovate UK, BBSRC, SynBio SIG, and the Knowledge Transfer Network.


Downloads & documents:

Synthetic Biology in the UK 2009-2019 – A Decade of Rapid Progress (2019)

UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016 – Biodesign for the Bioeconomy (2016)

A Strategic Roadmap for Synthetic Biology in the UK (2012)

A Living Foundry for Synthetic Biological Materials – A Synthetic Biology Roadmap to New Advanced Materials (2018)

SBLC response to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling of 25th July 2018 on the regulation of products developed using genome editing techniques. (2018)

Latest News
What are the aims of the SBLC?
The Synthetic Biology Leadership Council will be a co-ordinating body for the UK’s interests in the rapidly developing field of synthetic biology.
Meetings of the SBLC
The Leadership Council will meet at least three times per year, including one "open" meeting each year.
Latest Perspectives
Biodesign for the Bioeconomy - UK Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology
The Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology sets out a clear plan to ensure the UK maintains its position as a global leader in this exciting field.
Synthetic biology in the real world: Case studies
The wide-ranging applications of synthetic biology will play an important role in growing the UK's bioeconomy.
A Strategic Roadmap for Synthetic Biology in the UK - 2012
Synthetic biology has the potential to increase prosperity and address some of the major challenges facing our planet.
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