ITI Life Sciences Seeks to Fund Innovative R&D Programme in Synthetic Biology
News Apr 02, 2008
ITI Life Sciences, the publicly funded innovation group, issues a Call for Expressions of Interest from organizations or individuals with expertise in Synthetic Biology techniques that could be applied to Gene & Genome Synthesis and Assembly.
ITI Life Sciences’ is seeking to commission a new R&D programme to develop technologies that can be further developed to create high-value commercial products. Typically, R&D programmes will receive in the range of £2–5 million (US$4–10 million) over an anticipated term of 18–36 months, and are expected to lead to the creation of centers of research excellence in Scotland.
Synthetic Biology is a highly promising new area of biotechnology that merges biology with engineering to create new microorganisms programmed to perform complex biological processes for specific industrial applications. It is a significant advance on current genetic engineering technologies owing to the level of both engineering involved and the controllability of the process.
ITI Life Sciences’ market and technology analysis process (foresighting) has concluded that such applications are expected to address market needs in a variety of sectors of high commercial and societal value, ranging from bioenergy, chemical synthesis, drug and vaccine development, biosensor development and tissue engineering. As such, Synthetic Biology is attracting considerable interest from academia, industry and the financial community, and major opportunities exist in the development of enabling technologies to drive this new area forward.
As the world struggles to meet the increasing demand for energy, coupled with the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere from deforestation and the use of fossil fuels, photosynthesis in nature simply cannot keep up with the carbon cycle. In a recent paper, researchers report significant progress in optimizing systems that mimic the first stage of photosynthesis, capturing and harnessing light energy from the sun.