Nearly £300,000 of funding has been granted to researchers at Teesside University to explore ground-breaking developments in bioscience, working with leading local companies such as Quorn, Croda and Fujifilm Diosynth Technologies.
The money has been granted via the THYME project which is a collaboration between Hull, York and Teesside universities to boost the bioeconomy across Yorkshire, Humber and the Tees Valley.
Seven projects, totalling almost £350,000, have been funded across the three universities in the first-round of THYME proof-of-concept funding. Teesside University are partners in six of these seven projects.
Each of the projects is worth almost £50,000 and involves collaboration with an industrial partner as well as a partner university.
Teesside University’s work will also be carried out through its new £22.3 million National Horizons Centre in Darlington, a centre of excellence to develop 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.
Teesside University is working with industrial and academic partners on the following THYME projects:
• Quadrum Institute and University of Hull – Using machine learning techniques to model the best conditions for microorganisms in the human gut to underpin the improved efficiency of a probiotic product.
• Unilever, Quorn, Croda and University of Hull – Developing a micro-bioreactor system for a range of miniaturised bioprocessing applications. Providing a rapid and low cost means of acquiring physiological, metabolic and productivity data within a variety of cells.
• Fujifilm Diosynth technologies and University of York – Increasing the productivity and reducing waste in microbiological protein production by exploiting how microbes react to the formation of protein aggregates.
• Northumbrian Water and University of York – Investigating the microbiology occurring within the Anaerobic Digestion process during waste water treatment and generating recommendations for AD process optimisation.
• Naturiol Bangor Ltd and University of York (lead partner) – Determining the feasibility of oil extracted from Alexanders seed as a highly valuable food ingredient to create low saturated fat, dairy free products.
• Yorkshire Water and University of York (lead partner) – Investigating the feasibility of an Anaerobic Digestion innovation facility to test and demonstrate new AD processes and technologies.
Dr Geoff Archer, head of knowledge exchange at Teesside University, said: “We are delighted to be able to use the expertise and facilities at Teesside University and the National Horizons Centre to work with our partners on these projects.
“Each project will involve cutting-edge research and they are projected to make a huge impact on the development of the bioscience industry by generating the vital skills and knowledge to help grow this important sector.”
A Science and Innovation Audit of the bioeconomy in the North of England revealed that there are over 16,000 bioeconomy related companies in the region, 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.