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Teesside, Hull and York - Mobilising Bioeconomy Knowledge Exchange


Globally we are facing challenges in terms of production of food, materials and energy and waking up to the environmental impact of our overreliance on fossil fuels and single use plastics.

The world is shifting away from a traditional, linear economy towards a bioeconomy which uses renewable, biological resources – reducing our reliance on fossil resources and minimising waste.

Experts have estimated that by 2050, the world will need 40% more energy* and 50% more food.

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. The fast-growing bioeconomy represents a major economic opportunity for the UK and particularly for the North of England, which has world-class bioeconomy assets.

*International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2010

2015 UN report “The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. Paris, UNESCO


Project funded by

Research England

Project partners

Biorenewables Development Centre


Teesside University

University of York


The University of Hull is collaborating with partners at the University of York and Teesside University on a project to develop the bioeconomy across Yorkshire, the Humber region and the Tees Valley, building on the existing knowledge and innovation in the region. The project was initially awarded £5 million funding from the Research England Connecting Capabilities Fund and was granted a further £1.8million to extend the project by a year. 

The University of Hull brings particular expertise in the bioeconomy, particularly on aspects of biofuels, renewable energy and the environment, as well as logistical aspects of the wider circular economy.

THYME focuses on three areas of research:

Transforming bio-based waste into higher value new products. There is an opportunity for the region to become a world leader in the conversion of bio-based waste to higher value chemicals with multibillion pound markets.

Converting industrial sites by re-purposing them for bio-based manufacturing. The project will explore opportunities for new usage of sites associated with the Humberside and Teesside chemical industry clusters for processing bio-based raw materials and manufacturing high value biologics.

Growing the productivity of the region’s bioeconomy as a whole by bringing together research and commercialisation capabilities within the three universities. The opportunities for increasing productivity are extensive and include reducing waste; adding value to by-products, automating manufacturing processes; and adapting feedstocks.

THYME staff at the University of Hull:

Dr Josh Ahmed (Energy & Environment Institute), Hassan Alabdrabalameer (Chemical Engineering), Dr Jane Bunting (Ecology), Dr Pauline Deutz (Circular Economy), Dr Georgios Efthimiou (Microbiology), Dr Graham Ferrier (Geography), Dr M. Grazia Francesconi (Chemistry), Florence Halstead (Energy & Environment Institute), Dr Katharine Hubbard (Biological Science), Dr Sue Hull (Ecology), Dr Xuebin Ke (Chemical Engineering), Dr Dmitriy Kuvshinov (Chemical Engineering), Dr Dave Lunt (Biological Science)Dr Callum MacGregor (Energy & Environment Institute), Dr Will Mayes (Environmental Science), Professor John Murray  (Computer Science), Dr Dipesh Patel (Chemical Engineering), Professor Ron Patton (Engineering), Emma Peasland (Energy & Environment Institute), Joy Morandin Rettori (Logistics), Professor Graham Scott (Teaching Excellence Academy), Dr Graham Sellers (Biological Science), Dr Vicky Skoulou (Chemical Engineering), Dr Irene Sotiropoulou (Energy & Environment Institute), Dr Martin Taylor (Energy & Environment Institute), Dr Rob Thomas (Energy & Environment Institute), Linda Whicker (Logistics), Josh Wolstenholme (Energy & Environment Institute), Dr Sharif Zein (Chemical Engineering)

The Impact

The THYME project will drive increased productivity of companies operating in the bioeconomy across Yorkshire, Humberside and the Tees Valley, providing an opportunity for the region to become a world leader in this sector.

The new and highly innovative collaboration between the universities of York, Hull and Teesside will become an exemplar for good practice in Knowledge Exchange between Higher Education Institutions and industry. It will act as a catalyst for regional growth in the sector attracting trade and inward investment into sustainable bio-based industries and our HEIs. The growth of the regional and UK bioeconomy has potential for major positive environmental benefits.

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