Public Release: 

Biorenewables - products for a sustainable future: York leads new consortium

University of York

The University of York is to lead a new group set up to explore the potential of products from the biosphere to reduce the global economy's dependence on fossil reserves and oil.

Bioscience for Business, a Knowledge Transfer Network, chaired by Professor Dianna Bowles, Director of CNAP, is a combination of research expertise and commercial know-how, bringing together members with interests in micro-organisms, land plants and marine and freshwater organisms, and their industrial applications.

Funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, the network will share ideas and experience, develop a comprehensive research and technology strategy to inform Government policy-making and funding priorities, and boost innovation in the bioscience sector to support new sustainable production processes and products in sectors such as fine chemicals, materials, and pharmaceuticals.

"Today, the world's economy depends on fossil reserves and the use of oil to make many of the products needed by society", said Professor Dianna Bowles. "This cannot continue, since the fossil reserves are finite and oil is becoming too expensive for industrial use. Biorenewables, the use of plants and microorganisms, their products and processes, offer an immense potential for sustainability. The Bioscience for Business network is an important new initiative to bring about change and raise awareness of their opportunities for industry and all of us in society".

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Bioscience for Business combines the expertise of three partner organisations in the bioscience sector - Pro-Bio, a Faraday Partnership (which has been supported by DTI and EPSRC) on industrial biotechnology directed by Dr David Gardner who is also Director of the new KTN, the National Non-Food Crop Centre (also supported by DTI and Defra) on York Science Park and BlueMicrobe (funded by NERC), a marine and freshwater network.

Notes for editors:
CNAP was established through a benefaction from the Garfield Weston Foundation and funding from UK Government. The research centre is located in the new £22 million bioscience development, occupying 2000m2 of laboratories and facilities. Academics undertake gene discovery research in plant science and microbiology funded by UK Research Councils and international organisations. The research centre undertakes projects at the interface of curiosity-driven and target-led research as well as developing programmes in public awareness of science and international alliances. For further information on CNAP see www.CNAP.org.uk

•The University of York is a dynamic and highly successful organisation, recognised internationally for its excellence in teaching and research. Consistently in the top ten of UK universities, the University of York was ranked 34th in a league table of the world's top 100 universities for biomedicine in a table published in October 2005 in the Times Higher Education Supplement.

•With the City of York Council and private industry, the University is a member of the successful Science City York partnership, which was created in 1998 to capitalise on the international research strengths of the University of York and complementary strengths of the city and sub-region to generate new high quality local business and employment opportunities.

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