The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has announced that it is to run a competition to fund the development and commercialisation of innovative processes that will generate high-value chemicals through industrial biotechnology.
According to the TSB, the competition aims to stimulate collaboration between industrial biotechnology developers, higher-education institutions and, in particular, the chemicals sector.
Up to £2.5m will be invested and applications are invited for feasibility and collaborative research and development (R&D) projects.
The chemicals and chemistry-using sectors are encouraged to use this initiative to pilot industrial biotechnological routes to replace existing thermo-chemical processes or to address new challenges.
Following the signing of an agreement between the UK and Norway that encourages UK-Norwegian projects incorporating industrial biotechnology and/or bio-refining, Innovation Norway intends to provide the public-funding element for any Norwegian SMEs engaged in successful projects meeting their normal criteria for eligibility.
Innovation Norway’s main funding instrument is the Industrial Research and Development Contracts (IFU), which supports SMEs to work with an end user and their programme on upscaling and the demonstration of new processes.
Up to £1m will be available for UK parties in feasibility projects, which must be led by a UK SME and be collaborative.
TSB said in a statement that the projects should be at pilot scale, usually lasting six to nine months.
In addition, up to £1.5m will be available for UK parties in collaborative R&D projects, which must be led by a UK business and should include an end user.
The projects should be at production scale and will usually last up to two years. Co-funding from the Research Councils may also be available for UK academic partners.
The competition opens on 19 September 2011 and closes on 3 November 2011. Further information about the competition can be found here.