New funding to address skills gaps in UK bioscience industry

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A scene of a man looking into a microscope to analyse a sample

The National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC), co-led by the University of Liverpool, has received funding as part of a £22.5m investment from the UK Government to address skill gaps in the UK bioscience industry.

The Collaborative Training Partnerships (CTP) scheme run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will address these skill gaps through doctoral training led by businesses. The collaborative partnerships will work across the BBSRC’s strategic priorities areas such as Net Zero+, Tackling Infections, Transformative Technologies and more.

The NBIC is a led by four universities – Edinburgh, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton. The funding has been awarded to the Centre in partnership with portfolio medical technology business – Smith+Nephew and the NBIC Industry Advisory Board.

The Smith+Nephew and NBIC Consortium will focus on developing interdisciplinary scientists for small, medium and large companies, addressing biofilm challenges that have a £45bn impact in the UK.

Professor Rasmita Raval, Director of Liverpool’s Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces and Co-Director of NBIC said: “This CTP will provide highly skilled scientists in the important area of biofilms, who will work across disciplinary boundaries and be trained to connect research and scholarship with innovation and entrepreneurship at both national and SME level.”

A total of 225 studentships have been awarded CTP funding, in partnership with academia and industry, spanning 29 businesses and 12 academic research organisations. The four-year studentships will be delivered over the period 2022-28 with £22.5m of funding from BBSRC, and more than £14m cash and in-kind co-investment from industry partners.

Dr Mark Richardson, NBIC CEO said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to award these studentships. Led by our Industrial Advisory Board, these will enable the development of interdisciplinary scientific talent for the biofilm sector in the UK. This will support our enduring mission of harnessing the UK’s academic and industrial strengths in biofilms through research, innovation and training”.

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Executive Chair said: “With the awards we have announced today BBSRC underlines it commitment to work with industry to support the next generation of bioscience researchers. Projects will span areas vital to our strategic priorities, such as tackling infections and helping to meet our net zero goals”.