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Biotechnology: Research

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL14494, tabled on 12 March 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to invest in UK biotechnology research projects.

Answered on

18 March 2019

The UK has world-class expertise in industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology – the platform technologies that underpin the bioeconomy. These technologies can be applied across multiple sectors to achieve transformational changes in productivity and clean growth. The recent UK Bioeconomy Strategy is a collective approach from government, industry and the research community to transform the UK bioeconomy.

UKRI’s investment in biotechnology research is principally through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which through its Forward Look for UK Bioscience identifies four broad areas where biotechnology will have a strong impact on our economy: sustainable agriculture and food; renewable resources and clean growth; integrated understanding of health and transformative technologies.

Approximately one third of BBSRC’s total research investment relates to biotechnology around an annual expenditure of £110m in 2017/18. BBSRC is not the sole funder in Biotech research, other UKRI councils are also involved in supporting research programmes: Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy and the Future Biomanufacturing Hub, Agri-Tech Catalyst and the National Biofilms Innovation Centre.