Public Release: 

£15.8 million for long-term projects tackling major scientific challenges

Health, energy and agriculture to benefit from long-term research investment

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Five high-value, long-term research projects totalling £15.8M have been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They have the potential to produce energy and valuable chemicals using sunlight, to tackle animal diseases that cost farmers millions annually and to contribute to the fight against cancer.

The five grants, funded through BBSRC's Strategic Longer and Larger Grants (sLoLaS) scheme, give world-leading teams long-term funding and resources to address major challenges. The projects were chosen based on their scientific excellence; because they required long timescales, extensive resources and/or multidisciplinary approaches; and because they involve internationally leading research teams.

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, said: "This funding will support world-leading research teams in Sheffield, Kent, Manchester, Glasgow and Oxford to address research gaps in bioscience for the benefit of the UK.

"From harnessing the sun's power for better biofuel production to investigating how to reduce costs for British sheep farmers, these research projects supported by almost £16m from government will help to find long-term solutions to some of our biggest challenges in areas like health, energy and agriculture."

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "BBSRC's sLoLaS scheme gives world-leading scientists based in the UK long-term funding to work on critical research challenges. In this round those challenges include producing clean energy, new ways to produce medicines and other valuable chemicals, and protecting livestock from disease.

"Not only will these funded projects help the UK and the world to address these challenges, but it will build vital research capacity here in the UK and provide opportunities for economic and social benefits."

The projects are:

Professor Neil Hunter, University of Sheffield, Engineering new capacities for solar energy utilisation in bacteria, £3,349,791

Professor Martin Warren, University of Kent, Development of supramolecular assemblies for enhancing cellular productivity and the synthesis of fine chemicals and biotherapeutics, £3,484,320

Professor Nigel Scrutton, The University of Manchester, Innovative Routes to Monoterpene Hydrocarbons and Their High Value Derivatives, £2,990,390

Professor Eileen Devaney, University of Glasgow, The BUG consortium Building Upon the Genome: using H. contortus genomic resources to develop novel interventions to control endemic GI parasites, £2,922,217

Professor Béla Novák, University of Oxford, Systems-level characterization of mammalian cell cycle transitions, £3,040,813

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