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by Sofia Villegas
13 March 2024
Scottish bioeconomy reaches economic milestone thanks support from industry, new figures reveal

Scotland could become a hotspot for biotechnology expertise

Scottish bioeconomy reaches economic milestone thanks support from industry, new figures reveal

The Scottish bioeconomy has received a £35m in investment thanks to the decade-long support from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), new figures have revealed. 

Over the last ten years, the organisation has supported more than 260 start-ups, and its 215 projects have grown its initial funding of £6.8m by over 500 per cent through third-party sources.  

IBioIC was established in 2014 to build a network where industry, academia, and government could come together to support proof-of-concept projects.    

As a result of its efforts, it is claimed, that the Scottish industrial biotechnology sector is exceeding growth expectations and is on track to achieve associated turnover of £1.2bn by 2025, with Scotland holding “the potential to become the go-to destination for scaling up economy businesses and manufacturing bio-based products and materials”, according to Mark Bustard, chief executive of IBioIC.   

Mark Bustard, chief executive of IBioIC

Figures have been presented today at the organisation's annual conference in Glasgow, marking the centre's 10th anniversary.   

The milestone announcement follows the centre securing long-term investment from the Scottish Funding Council earlier this year.   

Industrial biotechnology works with nature to maximise and optimise biochemical pathways that can be used in manufacturing, helping to boost sustainability and efficiency in industrial processes.   

The associated turnover sum forms part of the recent update of the Scottish Government’s National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, which also sets out an aim for more than 220 companies to be “actively involved” in Industrial biotechnology and supporting over 4,000 jobs by 2025.   

Other initiatives from the centre include skills programmes and access to bioprocess scale-up facilities – FlexBio and RapidBio.    

IBioIC’s membership network recently hit 200 companies, with LiYF Bioethanol being the latest to join the cohort.  

Headquartered in Switzerland, the start-up is exploring the use of advanced second-generation bioethanol, produced from agricultural waste to replace fossil sources in the petrochemical industry. 

It recently opened a facility in Ayrshire, with the ambition of establishing a pilot plant in Scotland for potential end users to validate the technology and trial the fuel. 

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