The University of York is to lead on a £5million project to develop the bioeconomy across Yorkshire, the Humber region and the Tees Valley. The THYME project – this is its name – will build on the existing expertise and innovation in the region in a new collaboration between the Universities of York, Hull and Teesside. Those involved in the three year project say the funding will boost the region’s economy, create jobs and deliver major environmental benefits.
The THYME project is part of a multi-million pound investment package to drive university commercialisation across the country through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF). The bioeconomy uses renewable, biological resources such as plants and wastes to create the greener products of the future – reducing the reliance on fossil resources and minimising waste. In partnership with regional industry, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the wider community, the THYME project (Teesside, Hull and York – Mobilising Bioeconomy Knowledge Exchange ) has three key themes: Transform, Produce high-value products from bio-based wastes and by-products; Convert: Re-purpose industrial sites for bio-based manufacturing; Grow: Increase productivity by reducing waste and energy use, adding value to by-products and developing better products using industrial biotechnology.
The project is being led by the University of York and will be delivered in partnership with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) and BioVale. “This project – Jon Timmis, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange at the University of York, said – builds on our world-leading expertise in the bioeconomy here at York and the wider region. The University is committed to being a key player in regional growth, and this project provides an excellent opportunity for the University to help deliver that commitment.”
“There’s growing interest in shifting away from a traditional, linear, fossil-based economy that has, for example, littered the planet with plastics”, BDC Director, Joe Ross, added. “We believe that switching to a circular economy based on biorenewable materials will provide major benefits for the environment, for human health and for the economy – and that the North has the assets and the knowledge to lead the change.”
A recent Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) of the Bioeconomy in the North of England, revealed there are over 16,000 bioeconomy related companies in the North of England, with a total annual turnover of over £91 billion, employing around 415,000 people.The bioeconomy is estimated to be worth £220 Billion GVA in the UK alone, and the government’s industrial strategy is setting ambitious targets to double its size by 2030.