The Department for Business Innovation & Skills is investing £12m to develop demonstrator facilities for industrial biotechnology (IB) at Wilton in the north east of England.
The government will also provide £2.5m to support companies using the demonstrator facility and match funds from the Technology Strategy Board for new projects related to IB.
The facility will build on the capabilities at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), including the National Industrial Biotechnology Facility (NIBF).
The NIBF has to date been providing vital testing facilities for new industrial biotechnology products and processes, but industry leaders have indicated that facilities are required on a larger scale to ensure the future development of industrial biotechnology in the UK.
The new facilities will be tailored to the development and testing of the production of alcohols, biodiesel, low-volume speciality and higher value chemicals from renewable biomass feedstocks and through biocatalysis.
The facilities will immediately create around 15 highly skilled jobs, and it has been estimated that they could directly support between 10 and 40 new jobs per annum when they are fully operational, which is estimated to be between October and December 2010.
Regional Development Agency One North East has earmarked up to £1.5m to support the day-to-day running of the new site and to help strategic partners in the region access the facilities.