The University of Hull is to work with partners at the University of York and Teeside University on a £5 million project to develop the bioeconomy across Yorkshire and the Humber region and the Tees Valley.
The bioeconomy uses renewable, biological resources from the land and sea such as plants, such as crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms – to produce food, materials and energy. The aim is to create greener products for the future - reducing our reliance on fossil resources and minimising waste.
As part of a new collaboration that harnesses the expertise of the Universities involved, the Teesside, Hull and York - Mobilising Bioeconomy Knowledge Exchange (THYME) project will build on the existing knowledge and innovation in the region.
The project is part of a multi-million pound investment to drive university commercialisation across the country through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF).
In partnership with regional industry, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the wider community, the THYME project 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 project is being led by the University of York will be delivered in partnership with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) and BioVale.
Dr Maggie McGowan, Director of Research and Innovation at the University of Hull, said: “This project allows us to bring each of the universities unique areas of excellence together, which will act as a catalyst for regional growth in this sector.”
Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull said: “This project builds on our expertise in the bioeconomy, particularly on aspects of environment, biofuels and renewable energy, as well as the political and legal aspects of the wider circular economy.
“The shift away from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based circular economy will result in major benefits for the environment, for human health and for the wider UK economy – this region is well placed to drive that change.”
A recent Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) of the bioeconomy, revealed 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 Gross Value Added in the UK alone, and the government’s industrial strategy is setting ambitious targets to double its size by 2030.