News Release 

Could biotechnology be the vital catalyst to deliver a green economic recovery?

George Freeman MP, former Minister of Life Sciences, will join panel debate with leading experts from Manchester Institute of Biotechnology

University of Manchester

Biotechnology's game-changing role as a catalyst to reboot the economy and build a more sustainable future will be the focus of a summit co-hosted by The University of Manchester.

The panel debate and live Q&A is entitled 'Biotechnology: The Catalyst for a Sustainable Future' and will feature leading experts from the prestigious Manchester Institute of Biotechnology who will be joined by national policy-makers and influencers.

The virtual event will be held on Wednesday, July 15, 3-4pm and the discussion will coincide with a special Spotlight supplement focusing on the UK's world-leading biotechnology capability to be published in the latest edition of the New Statesman. Hosted in partnership with the magazine the expert panel will be made up of:

    · Jon Bernstein (Chair), Former Deputy Editor, New Statesman

    · George Freeman, MP, and former Minister of Life Sciences

    · Professor Rob Field, Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology

    · Yvonne Armitage Chair of the External Advisory Board for Future Biomanufacturing Research

    · Professor Lionel Clarke OBE, Co-Chair of the UK Engineering Biology Leadership Council

Industrial Biotechnology (IB) is the term that describes the application of nature's catalysts - ie enzymes - and other biological systems to sustainably produce chemicals, materials and energy says Professor Rob Field, Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB).

Using the latest developments in biotechnology, and by collaborating with industry, it will be possible to produce medicines, plastics and fuels that are not are not sourced from carbon-generating fossil fuels.

Themes that will be put under the spotlight at the live streamed debate will include the potential capability of biotechnology to meet the global grand challenges - and how might the COVID-19 crisis act as a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of biotechnology by society.

"Sustainable development is one of the biggest challenges facing society and industry today as we look to meet today's energy, food and manufacturing needs without exhausting the Earth's resources," explained Professor Field.

"Biotechnology could provide the catalyst for revolutionary change and help us build a better more sustainable future.

"COVID-19 has shown science at its best - agile yet focused, collaborative while competitive. We can learn from the experience to develop a more resilient and sustainable world. Biotechnology has a large part to play in supporting a 'clean growth' recovery.

"Our panel discussion - and the special edition of the New Statesman's Spotlight which supports this talk - will reveal just of how biotechnology could help support a sustainable re-booting of the economy."

Register to tune in to this online event at 3pm on Wednesday, July 15, and receive joining information closer to the date. Spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis. Registration details here: https://www.newstatesman.com/2020/06/new-statesman-and-mib-webinar-biotechnology-catalyst-sustainable-future

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