My first external visit of the week was to York, where I had discussions with the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) and the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products. These have both been well ahead of the curve in recognising the need to integrate the plant-based fixation of carbon and its conversion, extraction and processing into high(er) value products besides foodstuffs and feed. Many issues remain in terms of rolling out the Knowledge Based BioEconomy on a large scale, but it is necessary to have things to roll out in the first place!
We had a very useful meeting of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum, including Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk. The number of examples of a move to sustainable, biologically based chemicals production is growing apace. Readers may be interested in the Forum’s autumn newsletter, as well as a paper by NESTA on Financing Industrial Biotechnology in the UK. It would seem that Finance for Industrial Biotechnology is something that is mainly likely to come not from the Venture Capital sector but more from large corporates within the relevant sectors. [...]