Arc Universities

The new Environmental Biotechnology Innovation Centre (EBIC), led by Cranfield University, brings together scientists from ten leading UK institutions in a mission to advance the properties and functions of micro-organisms, creating more effective ways to monitor the environment and remove pollutants.

The research centre, the first of its kind in the UK, is being formed to enhance and develop the natural abilities of micro-organisms in cleaning up our planet. Tackling environmental pollutants and waste using microbes, the new centre is being established with £13 million of funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Technology Missions Fund and support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Working together from lab to field applications, scientists involved in the five-year project will examine ways to develop micro-organisms to target and mitigate negative impacts from polluting substances like plastic waste, hydrocarbons, metals and oil. Micro-organisms will not only be used to clean up hazardous and toxic pollutants from the environment, but also to help regenerate or recycle waste.

Engineering biology is identified as one of the UK Government’s five critical technologies in its Science and Technology Framework. Professor Leon A. Terry, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Cranfield University commented,

“This new research centre is set to bring together some of the UK’s leading experts in biotechnology to create a world-class hub of excellence. Working closely with industry and focused on real-world applications, the research will develop a creative and sustainable way to address some of our most pressing environmental challenges.”

Frederic Coulon, Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology at Cranfield University and EBIC Project Lead says,

“They may be tiny, but micro-organisms have ‘superhero’ properties which give them enormous potential to have a positive impact on our world.”

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