Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 92

food, agriculture, chemicals, energy production,
health and environmental protection.
The size of the bioeconomy is truly staggering
– in the EU alone, it is estimated to be worth €2
trillion, accounting for 22 million jobs. Each euro
invested in EU-funded bioeconomy research and
innovation is estimated to trigger €10 of value
added in bioeconomy sectors by 2025.
The UK is well placed to consider a more
holistic approach to the bioeconomy since it
has a strong research and industrial base in
many of the key sectors that feature in it, such
as chemicals and pharmaceuticals. For
example, the UK has over 1,000 biomedical
technology companies, employing nearly
27,000 people and contributing over £4bn
(~€5.3bn) to the economy.
UK biotechnology
Undoubtedly, industrial biotechnology (IB) and
bioenergy are a core component of the
bioeconomy and one where BBSRC strategy has
already had an impact. In 2013-2014 alone, the
BBSRC invested £30.2m in this area, and
estimates suggest IB could add £4-12bn per
year to the UK economy by 2025; the BBSRC is
therefore fostering an environment for innovation.
Current BBSRC funding opportunities support
the development of new sustainable
approaches to the generation of materials and
chemicals and their incorporation into
manufacturing, using renewable resources
rather than fossil hydrocarbon sources and
utilising biological processes. The BBSRC
research and training portfolio highlights a need
to build capacity and capability to undertake
basic and strategic research in this area in the
future. Increasing the opportunities for
collaboration with industry is also key, allowing
the translation of basic discoveries into new
products and processes. To this aim, the
BBSRC has already funded 13 unique
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
92
B I O T E C H N O L O G Y
Applying bioscience
The chief executive of the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research
Council,
Professor Jackie Hunter,
sets out the country’s bioscience investments
and biotech developments
Professor Jackie Hunter
D
omestically and globally, our generation is tasked with
sustainably tackling the interconnected challenges of feeding
a growing population with limited resources, reducing our
reliance on fossil fuels, and ensuring our ageing populations enjoy good
health to match their longevity. For each of these challenges, bioscience
is contributing significantly towards a new wave of solutions.
The UK is in a great position to provide sustainable answers for the future
that benefit society whilst also contributing to economic growth. In the
biosciences sector, the UK is world leading by many measures. The
Nature Index 2014, which uses 68 journals independently chosen as
being of the highest quality, placed the UK research base second in terms
of financial efficiency. With less than 1% of the world’s population, the
UK generates 8% of the world’s scientific papers and has 16% of the
most cited papers globally. In order to keep the UK at the forefront, we
must maintain a commitment to funding excellent research and ensuring
that the UK continues to see science as a driver for societal impact and
economic growth.
Bioscience and the economy
At the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC),
we have been thinking holistically about our research and translational
activities with a focus on the bioeconomy. Over the past few years, a
number of countries have published bioeconomy strategies to provide a
focus for funding and industrial activity. To put it simply, the bioeconomy
encompasses all of the economic activity derived from bio-based products
and processes. Such products and processes can provide sustainable
and resource-efficient solutions for a range of industrial sectors, including
The EU’s bioeconomy
is estimated to be
worth €2 trillion
© Ralf Kunze
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