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Mapping the Innovation and Commercialisation Infrastructure for Non-Health Applications of Engineering Biology in the UK

February 27, 2024

IRC Report 003


Dr Halima Jibril

Professor Stephen Roper

Professor Raquel Ortega-Argiles

Dr Elvis Nyanzu

Dr Carol Stanfield


Engineering Biology is one of five priority technologies identified by the UK Government in its Science and Technology framework. Owing to early investments, the UK is now recognised as a global leader in Engineering Biology research, with research strengths in both human health and non-health applications of Engineering Biology. The UK has been relatively successful in commercialising outcomes from human health applications, but less so in commercialising non-health applications of Engineering Biology. This poses a potential risk to the UK’s longer-term global leadership in the Engineering Biology sector.

This study aims to assess the landscape of innovation and commercialisation infrastructure for non-health applications of Engineering Biology, and to identify gaps in provision as well as investment opportunities. We adopt a broad view of ‘infrastructure’, including not only physical assets and facilities but also organisations providing ‘soft’ support to Engineering Biology firms, such as funding organisations and industry networks.

Overall, we identified 61 open-access organisations and facilities supporting the non-health Engineering Biology innovation system in the UK. Around 44% of these are ‘soft’ infrastructure, with the remaining physical facilities serving a range of Technology Readiness Levels and broadly co-located with ‘clusters’ of Engineering Biology businesses. Combining these findings with insights from 18 in-depth company interviews and extensive stakeholder consultations, we identify five areas of opportunity for investment in new infrastructure or maximising the value from existing infrastructure.

A full report is available via the download section of this page.

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