19th Jun 2015

The BBSRC funds 13 different networks under its Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy scheme (NIBB). One of these networks is run from the University of York called ‘High Value Chemicals in Plants’ and has the aim of 'identifying high value products from plants and optimising their production in plants or alternative production systems'. The network has been running since 2013 and part of its mandate is to provide seed funding (pun intended!) for innovative projects. The total fund stretches to £800K over the five years of the grant and is being distributed through discrete funding calls. They have so far allocated £270K toward six projects so there is significant funding to be had (a maximum of £50K for an individual project in 2015). Results from Round One and Round Two funding calls (PDF).

The current funding call has a closing date of September 8th. Although Arabidopsis is perhaps not the most obvious candidate for grants of this type, it is not impossible to imagine where it might be used to understand the fundamentals of a particular biosynthetic pathway or as a proof of concept chassis to test a genetic modification, particularly if there is potential for synthesis of a high-value compound in a related Brassica species. Researchers often times need to be coaxed out of their previously defined 'research-boxes' so if you have ever wondered how a particular compound is made in a non-model organism then this is your chance to obtain money to test your idea.

Separate from these larger awards, the HVCfP also provides £1K Training Bursaries encourage collaboration between labs.

The HVCfP network is holding a workshop in mid-July entitled 'Harnessing the potential of synthetic biology for industrial biotechnology'. GARNet will be attending to take a look at what is planned for the future. Look out for a subsequent report on the website or on the GARNet blog.

All that remains for you to do is to put your thinking cap on and get some of that money! Best of luck!