Major funding boost for bio-researchers of the future

Newcastle University will be part of a new training partnership (CTP) between Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Limited and the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council).

BISCOP (Bioscience for Sustainable Consumer Products) CTP will create an inclusive, collaborative environment for high quality doctoral training that will prepare over 30 PhD students with the knowledge and skills needed for successful careers at the forefront of global bioscience. This will help ensure the UK maintains a leadership position in bioscience with improved translation of frontier research into economic and societal impact.

The partnership spans Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Limited, Prozomix, Newcastle University, Durham University, Northumbria University and will build on long-standing close partnerships in the region to generate more capacity into the bioscience skills base in the North East of England.

Professor Mike Capaldi, Dean of Innovation and Business, Newcastle University, said: “We see collaborative training partnerships such as these as being crucial to improving collaboration and communication between industry and academia, and creating the next generation of bioscience researchers and managers with the entrepreneurial and commercial skills to drive forward UK plc’s life science sector over the coming decade. We look forwards to working closely with our regional partner, Procter & Gamble, to build upon past successes and to accelerate the discovery and development of creative solutions to some of the global challenges that industry currently faces.” 

Developing future sector leaders 

The program will leverage the unique partner capabilities to deliver cohort training that will develop future sector leaders with the transferable skills and experiences required for success in the emerging research environment. It will focus on six BBSRC research topics of Industrial Biotechnology, Synthetic Biology, Structural Biology, Microbiology, Technology Development, and non-food aspects of Diet & Health. Many projects will involve interdisciplinary research, collaboration between institutions within and outside the partnership, and international collaboration.

Jerry Porter Senior VP, R&D, Procter & Gamble, said: “We are very excited to secure this BBSRC Collaborative training partnership on Bioscience for Sustainable Consumer Products. We see this as a unique opportunity to train a new generation of bioscientists and grow the skills needed to fuel the UK economy in the future. We look forward to seeing what creative new solutions and ideas this partnership will open up to help address some of the fundamental challenges we face as a company and a society on how to decarbonise industry and deliver on the race to Net Zero. This programme builds on strong and long-lasting relationships between P&G, Prozomix, Durham, Northumbria and Newcastle Universities. We expect this partnership to help P&G develop new insights and solutions through collaboration on cutting edge bioscience that will ultimately help accelerate our action on climate change toward net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations and supply chain by 2040.”  

In total, there will be 225 studentships, 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 to 2028 with £22.5 million of funding from BBSRC, and more than £14 million cash and in-kind co-investment from industry partners.

BBSRC executive chair, Professor Melanie Welham said: “With the awards we have announced BBSRC underlines its 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.”

Source: Newcastle University

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