Newton Fund UK-India industrial waste challenge – closes 11 Oct 17

Innovate UK and Research Councils, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), are investing up to £8 million in projects that use cutting-edge solutions to reduce industrial waste in India.

Projects should address reducing industrial waste and pollution, and improve value recovery from waste using biotechnology in one or more of these 5 sectors:

  • leather/tanning/textiles
  • municipal solid waste
  • paper and pulp
  • sewage
  • sugar cane

The total project grant will not exceed £2 million per project for UK partners. Match funding will be made available for Indian project partners by the Government of India. Projects should last between 30 months and 3 years.

Important dates

Final date for UK registration: midday 11 October 2017

Submission of full application: midday 18 October 2017

Further details on the call can be found here:


There is also a workshop on 12th July in York, UK which is open to UK and Indian delegates:

ERDF Project Support Officer, York – Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector

An exciting new opportunity has arisen as an ERDF Project Support Officer located in Sand Hutton, York.

This exciting position provides the opportunity for an experienced ERDF Project Support Officer to be involved in the delivery of the Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector (SIAFS) project. You will coordinate all aspects of the SIAFS project reporting requirements including meeting reports, customer and ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) requirements.

This is a 2 year fixed term appointment and the nature of the role may develop through the life of the project – more information can be found here.

Evolution of enzymes under anthropogenic selection pressure and their application in environmental bioremediation, University of Sheffield, 20 Jul 17, 11:00-14:00 hrs

Dr Colin Scott will be at The University of Sheffield on Thursday July 20th 2017 to discuss his ongoing research and develop potential new collaborations. Registration can be found here.

Dr Scott was born in 1975 in Scotland. He obtained a BSc (hon) in Genetics from the University of Wales (UK) in 1996 and a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Sheffield University (UK) in 2000. He moved to CSIRO Entomology in Canberra in 2004 as a post-doctoral fellow, and now leads the Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology Group in CSIRO. The EIB Group contains three teams: Biocatalysis, Metabolomics and Bioprocess Technologies & Environmental Engineering. Colin also leads a number of projects in biocatalysis and synthetic biology.

Dr Scott has a strong interest in understanding the enormous diversity of biochemistry and metabolism that has evolved in nature, with on-going research in:

  • enzyme structure/function relationships
  • evolution of new enzyme function (for example, pesticide catabolism)
  • developing enzyme technologies for bioremediation of pesticides
  • developing biocatalysts for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and plastics/polymers
  • ABC transporter engineering.

Nature has produced organisms that can perform some truly amazing chemistry at a level of sophistication that human chemists simply can’t match. Some of these biochemical innovations date back to the origins of life itself, where the ‘chemical language’ of biology developed. However, new enzymatic functions still arise in response to changes in the chemical environment that organisms find themselves in, including the novel chemical challenges that post-industrial humanity provides.

Anthropogenic chemicals, such as pesticides, often didn’t exist in nature before they were introduced by humans. New enzymes to deal with such chemicals evolve over a remarkably short span of time – and when we’re very lucky we can catch them in the act, finding model systems for studying the molecular mechanisms that drive (and constrain) evolution.

While evolutionary studies of enzymes provide deep insights into the way that biology works at a chemical level, there is also a broad range of practical applications for enzyme technologies. For example, the use of enzymes and microbes to drive chemical transformations (i.e. biocatalysis) is rapidly becoming the preferred technology in chemical manufacture.

Dr Scott’s work focuses on bioprospecting for novel enzymes for biotechnological applications, studying the processes by which new enzyme activities can evolve, improving their function in the laboratory and developing new processes that can reduce the cost and environmental footprint of chemical synthesis.

Bioeconomy Developments in EU Regions Mapping Study Published

The European Commission has published an independent mapping study of EU regional research and innovation plans and strategies for the bioeconomy.

Amongst other conclusions as a result of the study, it is suggested that:

  • A common definition or classification for the bioeconomy be established.
  • Better and more synergies between structural funds and Horizon 2020 are presented.
  • Public awareness and acceptance of the bioeconomy should be raised.

The study is available here.


Practical Digester Biology Course – 20-22 Jun 17 – Abertay University

This is a course run by the REA and IBBK in cooperation with the University of Abertay in Dundee. There is lots of group work, lab sessions and a field trip, as well as expert advice on subjects such as running a food waste/biowaste plant, mono-digestion of chicken manure and measurement methods. The course costs EUR1290 (EUR1050 for REA full members) and more information can be found here.

C1NET Conference – Chemicals from C1 Gas, Nottingham – 5-7th November 2017

This free, two-day conference will bring together academic and industrial partners to identify and address key challenges in the study of those organisms able to grow on C1 compounds and commercially exploit them as platforms for chemical manufacture. The programme will include talks from invited speakers from academia and industry, as well as from selected submitted abstracts and will showcase presentations from C1net POC grant winners. See: .

Jobs Opportunities – Severn Wye Energy Agency Ltd – Biogas and more

There are currently two positions available at the Severn Wye Energy Agency. The first is for a project manager in the biogas team, based within reasonable travelling distance of Llandrindod Wells – details are here: Advert PM_biogas. The second is for a Project Worker based in Gloucestershire, details here: Project Worker Advert 2017. Closing date for both jobs is 15 Jun 17.

AquaEnviro: The BIG Phosphorus Conference and Exhibition – Removal & Recovery, Manchester – 4/5th July 2017

This two-day conference and exhibition explores the balance between reducing phosphorus consumption within catchments, and effective means for recovering phosphorus as a nutrient.  The findings from the UKWIR low-P trials to evaluate source control technologies will also be presented.

This event will bring together experts in the field of phosphorus, technology suppliers and operators.  It is the must attend event for anyone considering Phosphorus removal and/or recovery.  Cost: £550+VAT.