£1.5m funding secured to boost Yorkshire’s bioeconomy

The University of York has been awarded £1.5m to support the growth of Yorkshire businesses that deliver innovative products, processes or services related to renewable, biological resources.

The funding has been awarded to the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), a University of York subsidiary, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The BDC is now able to offer 80 pre-funded projects for eligible businesses in selected Yorkshire regions by 2020. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must be located in the Leeds City Region.

This follows on from the BDC’s previous popular business support programmes which helped more than 300 local SMEs since 2012.

The production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, energy, chemicals and other materials is referred to as the bioeconomy.

Joe Ross, Director at the Biorenewables Development Centre, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local companies to get support to develop innovative products or processes in an exciting high growth sector.”

There will also be funding through this programme to develop cluster-building activities by the regions BioVale innovation cluster.

Sarah Hickingbottom, CEO at BioVale added: “BioVale will complement the BDC’s R&D offering by facilitating networking and dialogue, building collaborations and coordinating specialised training with businesses working in the bioeconomy.”

“If you are working with renewable or waste materials this is a unique opportunity to access tailored support”.

The Yorkshire region has a large and thriving bioeconomy. A Government-commissioned 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 £91bn, employing around 415,000 people.

The UK’s bioeconomy is estimated to be worth £220bn gross value added (GVA) and the Government’s recently published bioeconomy strategy has set ambitious targets to double its size by 2030.