£17M Announced to Support Industrial Biotechnology – IB Catalyst Round 4 results published

The BBSRC have announced that sixteen projects have received a share of £17M to bring innovative biotechnology concepts to market. These projects have been funded under Round 4 of the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst and they focus on a wide range of products from creating new drugs from bacteria, to increasing yields in the production of platform sugars from municipal solid wastes (MSW). The IB Catalyst has invested over £75M in four rounds and has helped create jobs, drive new technologies and promote academic and industrial collaborations to translate research into commercial reality. More information can be found in the complete BBSRC press release here.

Round 4 of the Energy Catalyst Now Open

We have not yet heard any further news on the next round of Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst award (see our news here), but Round 4 of the Energy Catalyst is now open. In most cases, Anaerobic Digestion is not applicable to the Energy Catalyst, but proposed solutions can focus on any part of the energy trilemma. Eligibility criteria and further information can be found here.

Note that registration for mid- and late-stage awards closes on 8 Jun 16, with the early-stage award deadline being 7 Sep 16.

Funding Opportunities: Spending review announces Global Challenges Research Fund

AD Network members may be interested in a new £1.5 bnGlobal Challenges fund announced in the latest spending review (pages 35 & 54). The fund is allocated over the next 5 years to ensure that UK science takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries whilst developing our ability to delivery cutting-edge research.

The exact nature of the funding streams has not been defined, but it is clear that there will be opportunities for UK industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (IBBE) expertise to be applied to these challenges. We will keep you updated with any developments.

Another BIV delivers! A new tool for AD energy requirements

The AD Network funded the University of Southampton and IEA Task 37 (UK) to produce a new program based modelling tool for anyone interested in modelling an AD system. At its simplest, it can be used to calculate potential biogas (and electrical) output for a system, but it is also sophisticated enough to calculated wider energy use and production across a whole system.

The model includes a wide variety of potential AD feedstocks, but users are also able to enter their own values. It is also possible to compare scenarios and to export all the information as a .CSV in order to further manipulate the outputs.

A really useful tool and it’s FREE. Download it from the Bioenergy and Organic Resources Research Group website.

Early Career Researchers Travel to Chile courtesy of the AD Network


Three lucky researchers presented at the 14th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion held in Vina del Mar, Chile, from 15-18 Nov and had their travel funded by the BBSRC Anaerobic Digestion Netowrk.

Hitesh Boghani from the University of South Wales presented a paper on “Sizing Lonitudinal Modularised Up-scalable MFCs for their use in Wastewater Treatment”. Newcastle University’s Rebeca Gonzalez Cabaleiro presented her paper on “Metabolic Energy-based Modelling Explains the pH Effect on Anaerobic Fermentation Product Yields”. And Santiago Pacheco-Ruiz of the University of Southampton presented his paper on “MCRT Effect on Membrane Fouling, Biomass Characteristics and Performance of a Gravitational SAnMBR”.

If you are an Early Career Researcher and interested in applying for travel vouchers to present at UK or international conferences, see the information on our funding page.






















Another BBSRC BIV Completed – Food Waste Net

Fiberight and Southampton have just completed a BIV project on ‘Recovery of food waste from municipal solid waste (MSW)’ during pulping, with funding from the BBSRC FoodWasteNet NIBB (www.foodwastenet.org). The aims of the work were to test an alternative separation technology for Fiberight’s innovative MSW-based sugar platform process, and determine how much food waste can be recovered from different stages. The sidestreams can then be tested for their potential to produce energy and higher-value products. The process is thus a key part of a waste-based biorefinery.

Permastore Tanks and University of Southampton complete first BIV

The Environmental Labs at the University of Southampton have just completed our first Business Interaction Voucher (BIV) project in conjunction with Permastore Ltd. The work involved development of a test procedure for materials to be used in advanced anaerobic digestion applications, including at thermophilic temperatures and in harsh conditions where the process may become unstable or fail. Testing was based on continuous simulation in 35-litre anaerobic digesters, and has provided comprehensive data that would not be available from simple batch tests. An innovative side-stream ammonia stripping system was used to control digestion parameters and provide a wide range of reactor conditions. This BIV was funded by BBSRC through the Anaerobic Digestion Network.

Information on all the work done in the Environmental Labs can be found on their Facebook page.

You too can benefit from such funding for academic help: see www.anaerobicdigestionnet.com/funding for more information.

Upcoming competition on ‘omics’ – Innovate UK – Registration from 18 May

The upcoming competition : Finding value in complex biological data – integrated ‘omics’, run by Innovate UK and BBSRC is opening shortly for registration.

The aim of this competition is to build a commercial ecosystem to exploit the commercial opportunities of ‘omics (e.g. genomics, proteomics etc.), systems biology and complex biological data streams with a particular focus on bioinformatics and bio-data based business models. More information on this competition.

Competition Briefing Event – 2 June, London

This event is an excellent opportunity for you to receive first hand information about the competition – its scope, application process, key dates etc. as well as network with peers, potential partners, market leaders & innovators in the industry.

Register here for the briefing event or webinar.


Interested in algal research? Try Spark Plus funding

The KTN has announced the new Spark Plus award. Closing date is 22 May 15. These are awards of £10K to an academic partner if an industry partner provides £5K match funding. Further details can be found at https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/algal-biotechnology-special-interest-group/algal-spark-plus-awards 

If you are looking for industry or academic partners, contact us – we have a large member list, many of whom are interested in algae.