Teesside University is taking part in a £5m project to develop the bioeconomy across the Tees Valley, Yorkshire and the Humber region.
The THYME project will build on the existing expertise and innovation in the region in a new collaboration between the Universities of Teesside, York and Hull.
Those involved in the three year project say the funding will boost the region’s economy, create jobs and deliver major environmental benefits.
The bioeconomy uses renewable, biological resources such as plants and wastes to create the greener products of the future – reducing our reliance on fossil resources and minimising waste.
In partnership with regional industry, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the wider community, the THYME project (Teesside, Hull and York – Mobilising Bioeconomy Knowledge Exchange ) has three key themes:
• Transform: Produce high-value products from bio-based wastes and by-products
• Convert: Re-purpose industrial sites for bio-based manufacturing
• Grow: Increase productivity by reducing waste and energy use, adding value to by-products and developing better products using industrial biotechnology.
The announcement of the THYME project follows the start of construction of Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre in Darlington (pictured above).
The £22.3m research, training and teaching facility, due to be completed in 2019, will concentrate on developing the technical, innovation and management skills and knowledge needed for the bioscience sector to continue to grow and generate jobs and wealth in Tees Valley and the UK.
Laura Woods, director of The Forge, Teesside University’s business hub, said: “This project will capitalise particularly on Teesside University expertise in bioscience and digital technologies, as well as our established track record for working with industry.
“The collaboration with other universities to develop this hugely important sector provides a strong innovation platform for the National Horizons Centre, and will deliver vital skills and knowledge to help grow the regional and national economy.”
The project is being led by the University of York and will be delivered in partnership with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) and BioVale.
Professor Jon Timmis, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange at the University of York, said: “This project builds on our world-leading expertise in the bioeconomy here at York and the wider region.
“The University is committed to being a key player in regional growth, and this project provides an excellent opportunity for the University to help deliver that commitment.”
A recent Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) of the Bioeconomy in the North of England revealed that there are over 16,000 bioeconomy related companies in the North of England, with a total annual turnover of over £91 billion, employing around 415,000 people.
The bioeconomy is estimated to be worth £220 Billion GVA in the UK alone, and the government’s industrial strategy is setting ambitious targets to double its size by 2030.
The THYME project is part of a multi-million investment package to drive university commercialisation across the country through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF).