SynbiCITE - an Imperial College led Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) in Synthetic Biology

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Bioengineering

Abstract

Synthetic biology is a new and exciting research field that brings together biological scientists and engineers with the aim of developing new ways to build and alter biological systems and cells. Biological cells can perform a vast array of activities driven by instructions, which are encoded by DNA. This DNA makes up the cells genome, which act as a blueprint for different types of cells and is composed of four complementary chemical building blocks called nucleotides (G, C, A and T) linked together in a sequence. The beauty of DNA is that these building blocks pair up specifically (G-C and A-T) thus the DNA template can be easily copied and replicated. The instructions encoded in DNA are translated specifically into an array of large molecules called proteins which act as the engines of the cell performing all the necessary functions for cells to live divide and grow e.g. the conversion of food sources like sugar into energy. Over the last 20 years advances in our ability to 'read' DNA has resulted in the complete genome sequences of a variety of living organisms including humans. These sequences encode the basic instruction parts for that specific organism. More recent advances in the chemical synthesis of DNA, has resulted in our increasing ability to 'write' DNA. Synthetic biology therefore aims to provide an engineering framework that allows researchers to design and write DNA tailored to specific applications such that these new synthetic DNA sequences can be placed in cells to perform specific human defined functions. One overarching aim at present is to develop a series of foundational techniques in synthetic biology such as assembling complex DNA components, characterising the instruction parts in detail and computer modelling of more complex DNA designs such that these can be applied to different applications. One overarching concept for synthetic biology is the development of standard DNA components that can used in an engineering 'design, build and test' cycle to create new biological systems and cells that display defined and predictable functions.

Many researchers, policy makes and national governments anticipate that synthetic biology will provide a range of benefits to society in different industrial sectors including human health; agriculture and food production; environmental protection and remediation; bioenergy and chemical. To accelerate the translation of synthetic biology technology to new applications we propose to establish a national UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre in synthetic biology with three main objectives:

(1) To act as an industrial translation engine which translates university and industry based research in synthetic biology into industrial process and products
(2) To be an effective vehicle for the support of small to medium sized UK companies including Start-ups in synthetic biology
(3) To actively engage in open dialogue with the public and other stakeholders focusing on the risks and benefits of synthetic biology technologies

The IKC aims to place the UK as one of the World's leaders in translating academic synthetic biology research into new products and process but under the framework of 'Responsible Innovation' where the public worth and potential risks of specific applications are considered before such applications are implemented or even reach the market. Such an approach will establish new sustainable synthetic biology industries in the UK, allow other non-UK companies to invest in the UK and develop a skilled workforce in synthetic biology all of which will ultimately lead to new economic growth.

Planned Impact

A number of international bodies including the British Government, the United States Government, the EC and the OECD are predicting that synthetic biology will have a very significant impact on the economy, growth and jobs over the coming years. In a policy statement in 2012, Vince cable, the Business Secretary [Minister] stated that the "Government has identified synthetic biology as one of the three technologies important to growth over the next 20 years".

The aim of the proposed IKC is to perform the important function of academic and business integration by creating an Industrial Translation Engine. The objective is for the IKC to create an effective mechanism to bridge the gap between university-based research and industrial processes to create products and jobs, through industry, for the benefit of the UK economy. The UK has a strong academic science and engineering base. Our plan for the IKC is designed to support existing and new companies to grow the UK sector in line with the international economic predictions for synthetic biology.

The IKC will be industrially oriented. The executive management team who will run the IKC will comprise people with extensive industrial and commercial experience - typically in areas where synthetic biology is likely to have industrial impact. Our proposed CEO is Dr Paul Sharpe - someone with considerable senior management experience and translation expertise in the pharmaceutical industry. It is envisaged that the other senior members of the executive management team will have complimentary backgrounds (e.g. in industrial biotechnology and IT and software engineering). The IKC facility (SynbiCITE) will be located in new-build facilities at the new Imperial College innovation campus and industrial park, currently being built in West London. It will employ additional scientific and support staff. These facilities will house the executive management team and their commercial staff, and a group of dedicated staff scientists and technicians.

Since the IKC is funded through public money, we will seek to demonstrate substantial, positive academic, economic, environmental and societal impact. We will also develop the skills base in synthetic biology by educating a significant number of highly qualified staff. In the first year of the IKC, the objective is that SynbiCITE will become a nationally recognised centre with global reach, building towards critical mass. From the first year, significant number of projects will be passing through the industrial translation engine - some, producing prototypes for test and pilot production. These and others will have a large number of patents and associated IP - with a number of companies benefitting. Over the initial 5 years we expect the IKC to have significant impact in the following areas:

(i) New synthetic biology processes and products in industry (in existing and new companies)
(ii) An improved understanding of the ethical, legal and regulatory impact of synthetic biology - and an accepted framework for Responsible Innovation for emerging technologies
(iii) A significant number of new UK jobs generated
(iv) An enhanced UK skills base - academic and industrial - in synthetic biology
(v) A larger portfolio of successful SMEs and start-ups - generating substantial turnover
(vi) The UK recognised as one of the international leaders in synthetic biology (academic and industrial)
(vii) New environmentally friendly processes to develop "green products"
(viii) A positively engaged public, and wider stakeholder engagement
(ix) Increased industrial funding for synthetic biology

Ultimately the IKC will show its full impact through growing a significant income-generating industry for the benefit of the UK.

Organisations

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg - Design Taxonomy 
Description Daisy was commissioned to investigate the future of mobility by Dezeen and MINI. A workshop for SynbiCITE scientists explored alternative visions and definitions of sustainability for synthetic biology, and informed a report designed to challenge synthetic biology's official Roadmap. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact To be added 
URL https://www.daisyginsberg.com/work/design-taxonomy
 
Description What were the most significant achievements from the award?
We have implemented the basic strategy described in the original grant application for the IKC, namely building three integrated hubs of activity: the Science, Engineering, Design and Applications Hub; the Facilities Hub; and the Business and Outreach Hub. The hubs are designed to cover the business and technology areas that need to be integrated in order to translate and accelerate the technology being developed.

To what extent were the award objectives met? If you can, briefly explain why any key objectives were not met. To date, SynbiCITE has run 25 PoC projects and one Development of Prototype project. These have typically comprised a six-month project on a particular topic, with £50k of funding. Over the last couple of years we have also obtained funding for PoC projects from the DSTL and the Rainbow Seed Fund and have worked in conjunction with Innovate UK
on other projects. SynbiCITE has developed a well-defined process for vetting, monitoring and funding of PoC projects, several of which have led to external investments and company formation. Development of Prototype (DOP) Funding for Prokarium's preclinical development of its chlamydia vaccine, which could potentially enter clinical trials as early as 2017. Prokarium have used synthetic biology to make a safe and effective chlamydia vaccine. The successful development of an oral chlamydia vaccine would revolutionise vaccine delivery and satisfy an unmet clinical need.

Education and Training: This comprises two main activities - Lean LaunchPad/BioStart and the 4-Day MBA course. Our aim was to focus principally on the task of providing a supportive business environment for start-ups and growing SMEs. It is anticipated that work in this area will focus on the continued development and deployment of the SynbiCITE training courses which are designed to accelerate and enhance the commercialisation process by training the next generation of synthetic biology entrepreneurs.
a) Lean LaunchPad/BioStart
Lean LaunchPad was originally developed within SynbiCITE to provide a customer facing course for start-ups and SMEs in synthetic biology. The course ran for 12 weeks and usually involved teams of three comprising, for example, team members who are scientifically and technically oriented, and a member who is business oriented. The aim of the course is that through extensive mentoring by appropriate business experts, the teams develop an effective product/business strategy that can be funded by external investment/grants at the end of the course. The original Lean LaunchPad course has now been developed into BioStart, which is a business accelerator programme with Lean LaunchPad at its core. In
b) The 4-Day MBA
The course is designed to provide a rapid introduction to the key elements of business practice that are needed to establish and grow a new company. An important aspect of the course is that no prior knowledge is assumed as experience shows that many of the scientists and engineers attending the course will have little or no business experience or knowledge. Consequently, the course is divided into four days that are taught and supervised by teachers with expert knowledge of developing small companies.
Metrics provided in narrative impact.
The Foundry activity primarily comprises expansion and development of the automation infrastructure at the core of the SynbiCITE Facilities Hub. This provides a suite of 'state-of-the-art' robotic equipment supplying automated end-to-end BioDesign, construction and validation of large genetic constructs. The Foundry is specifically designed to
support the commercialisation and industrial translation of synthetic biology - allowing SynbiCITE's partners to prototype, for example, new biologically based production platforms for chemicals, drugs and materials. Specific Foundry services will include: Data Analytics and Machine Learning; BioDesign; Automation and Protocol developments.
Project and company support The London DNA Foundry is specifically designed to be industry facing (whilst, in addition, supporting academic research).
Exploitation Route We have been able to add more detail to the original concept and plan. Through discussions with other IKCs, stakeholders and end-users of our activities, we have custom-designed an innovation platform specifically tailored to translating synthetic biology research and providing would-be entrepreneurs with a series of innovation programmes to accelerate the commercialisation of their synthetic biology research. This platform is now being used by academic researchers, start-ups and small companies to translate their research ideas into commercial products and services

SynbiCITE's produced the UK Synthetic Biology start-up survey 2017, it assessed the current and potential size of the Synthetic Biology industry, looking closely at growth trends, company scale, the value of the sector, key stakeholders and the commercial impact it could have. The challenges facing the industry, such as funding and IP protection, regulatory issues and ethics will also be evaluated.
SynbiCITE has created a globally renowned national resource of interacting partners from academia, industry and business across the UK to accelerate the commercialisation of world-class science and emerging technologies encompassed by synthetic biology into new products, tools, processes and services.

Total number of Academic partners that have used the Synthetic Programme
London DNA Foundry - 3
PoC/DoP - 6
LLp/BioStart - 25
4 Day MBA - 11

Total number of Companies that have used the SynbiCITE Programme
London DNA Foundry - 19
PoC/DoP - 19
LLP/BioStart - 21
4 Day MBA - 5
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.synbicite.com/media/uploads/files/UK_Synthetic_Biology_Start-up_Survey_2017_r7iqWsp.pdf
 
Description The global synthetic biology market is estimated to reach $38.7b by 20201. A number of international bodies - including the UK and US Governments, the EC and the OECD - are predicting that synthetic biology will have a significant impact on the economy, growth and jobs over the coming years. These are some of the key reasons why there is developing interest on both sides of the Atlantic in creating strategy for the bioeconomy in the UK. The original synthetic biology roadmap, published in July 2012, has resulted in an emergent industry involving both startups and spinouts - as well as the creation and development of new technology opportunities that can be exploited by existing companies. These include emerging technologies and new market opportunities for large multinational companies, as well as small to medium companies (SMEs). To fully realise the potential that this opportunity presents to the UK, the gap between university-based research and industry needs to be bridged. Research outputs from academic institutions are usually classified at technology readiness level (TRL) 1 and 2; as such, they are not, typically, ready for development by industry. Technologies need to be matured and de-risked and clinical need, potential products and markets defined to make them attractive for investment and product development, at TRL 5, by industry. Since its inception in October 2013, the Innovation & Knowledge Centre (IKC) for Synthetic Biology (SynbiCITE), in combination with its academic and industrial partners, has established an industrial translation platform for research using synthetic biology. This combination is capable of advancing technologies (as diverse as protein therapeutics and gene therapy; fine and specialty chemicals; biofuels; the agriculture and bioremediation) through TRLs 3 and 4, leading to investment and product development by industry at TRL 5 and beyond. The table below is a summary of the metrics to date. Metrics Summary UK SynBio SMEs and start-ups engaged with the IKC, by number and percentage: Pharma and Biotech (6, 18), Chemical (9, 64), Agritech (2, 40), Tools and Services (26, 32). • Total number of industrial partners, 38; total number of academic partners,25. • Total project investment: from the IKC (£1,084k); co-investment (£1,614k) • Number of new start-ups and spin-outs during the period the IKC (21, 11), respectively. • Jobs created 150-266). • Networking, conferences and workshops (UK) number, attendees: SynBioBeta London (4, 1600); House of Lords Investor Breakfasts (2, 240); Technical Seminars (13, 432); IET SynBio Conferences (3, 320).
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description A Synthetic Biology Roadmap for the UK
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact This report provides the vision and direction for supporting a world-leading synthetic biology community in the UK. Produced by an independent panel of experts for the government's Department for Business Innovation and Skills, it sets out a shared vision for realising the potential of synthetic biology in the UK. The roadmap aims to deliver a synthetic biology sector that is cutting edge; economically vibrant, diverse and sustainable; and of clear public benefit. Recommendations in the roadmap also provide a compass-bearing for the synthetic biology community, helping to align interests towards future growth opportunities, whilst identifying the resources and support needed to accelerate progress in the shorter term.
URL http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/publications/reports/syntheticbiologyroadmap/
 
Description BSI/'SynbiCITE white paper - The ascent of digital biomanufacturing - creating a new manufacturing industry through the development of synthetic biology standards
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Influencing manufacturing using biotechnology technology through the development and dissemination of new biology metrology and standards
URL https://www.bsigroup.com/LocalFiles/en-GB/standards/BSI-Standards-white-paper-The-ascent-of-digital-...
 
Description PAS 246 - Use of standards for digital biological information in the design, construction and description of a synthetic biological system - Guide
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact PAS 246 - Use of standards for digital biological information in the design, construction and description of a synthetic biological system. Is a standard and guide to the development and use of data pertinent to bio-manufacturing and biotechnology
URL http://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000030303883
 
Description Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The plan aims to increase turnover from £190M to £900M by 2025, through industrial growth and development, use of Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and development of key skills. Dr John Collins - Commercial Director - is part of this group, which is part of Scottish Enterprise.
 
Description UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016 - Biodesign for the Bioeconomy.
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman MP visited SynbiCITE at Imperial College London, the UK innovation and knowledge centre for synthetic biology, on 24th February 2016 to announce the release of the UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016 - Biodesign for the Bioeconomy. This strategic plan, published by the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC), aims to accelerate the commercialisation of synthetic biology products and services with clear public benefit, building upon the strength of the UK research base. It focuses on five key areas of strategic importance: Accelerating industrialisation and commercialisation Maximising the capability of the innovation pipeline Building an expert workforce Developing a supportive business environment, and Building value from national and international partnerships. It builds on the recommendations made in the Synthetic Biology Roadmap for the UK, which was first published by Innovate UK in 2012. The roadmap led directly to major funding and policy activities, including the establishment of new synthetic biology research centres, the Innovation and Knowledge Centre at SynbiCITE, DNA synthesis facilities, training centres and a seed fund for innovative companies. In addition, the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) was founded to manage the continued growth of this field. During 2015, the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) consulted a broad cross-section of businesses and the research community to develop this new strategic plan, building upon the successes of the 2012 roadmap.
URL https://connect.innovateuk.org/documents/2826135/31405930/BioDesign+for+the+Bioeconomy+2016+DIGITAL+...
 
Description 4 Day MBA - Business Training - London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Approx 32 post-graduate and post-doctoral students participate in the 4-day workshop to develop their business skills and consider how to form a biotech-based start-up business; using their newly-learned skills they had the opportunity to develop a business idea and pitch it to live investors. The course has generated considerable interest and runs off-site at other institutions, such as Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. SynbiCITE has run a number of courses in London, and thus far there have been 176 participants and 7 spin-outs as a result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/biotechnology-mba/
 
Description CPI workshop in Wilton Teesside 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Workshop for manufacturing scale up for start ups. This resulted in increased use of CPI facility
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description DSTL Project Demonstration day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact SynbiCITE organise DSTL funded projects from Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Loughborough Universities. Each project is overseen by a DSTL theme expert in a programme led by Prof Petra Oyston and managed by Alison Gale, both from DSTL Porton Down. These projects, along with others funded, were presented at the DSTL Demo day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DSTL Technology showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is committing up to £18 million over the next 4 years exploring the potential impact of synthetic biology on the UK's defence and security capabilities.

The government has identified synthetic biology as a key high-growth emerging technology. Synthetic biology has been described as the design and engineering of biologically based components, novel devices and systems as well as the redesign of existing, natural biological systems. It has the potential to deliver important new applications and improve existing industrial processes - resulting in economic growth and job creation.

Dstl's Prof Neil Stansfield says:

It is important that Dstl keeps abreast of such emerging technologies, ensuring that our armed forces can benefit from cutting-edge capability. Our programme champions innovation; and works with partners to explore and deliver exciting new technology opportunities for the security and prosperity of the UK.

Dstl is particularly interested in using synthetic biology to produce novel materials which might provide benefits such as enhanced ballistic protection and lightweight armour, or transparent screens and lenses which don't mist up. It is anticipated that within four years a new material for armour, or a new approach to existing materials at reduced cost, will be identified.

Dstl has been showcasing some of its work within the field of synthetic biology to suppliers at an event in Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire, including improved boron carbide armour and catalysts for fuel cells.

Attending the conference, Prof Lionel Clarke, Co-Chair of the UK's Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) said:

Synthetic biology has the potential to generate innovative solutions to significant technological challenges, and in recent years the UK has invested effectively to support operations at its rapidly advancing leading edge. Events like this allow us to better understand the possibilities that are starting to present themselves, to identify opportunities for collaboration and to benefit more fully from its recent and future development.

Prof Tim Dafforn, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said:

This conference is a wonderful example of how government departments are working together with industry and academia, to take full advantage of synthetic biology technologies for the benefit of the UK. I look forward to seeing how work in this rapidly developing field progresses in the coming years.

The next phase of funding will be administered through Dstl's Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE). A themed competition looking for synthetic biology approaches to produce novel materials to address defence challenges will be briefed at a CDE Innovation Network event on 10 February 2016, and the projects selected will build upon Dstl's existing programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/news/developing-novel-materials-with-synthetic-biology
 
Description FORNY Forum 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact "The Forny Forum was arranged by Inven2, on behalf of the Norwegian Research Council. Forny is a programme in the Norwegian Research Council. The programme facilitates the commercialisation of results from projects conducted at publicly funded research institutions and helps to bring the products and services to the market. The Forny forum is an annual conference for all the TTOs in Norway. Stephen Chambers attended the meeting and he spoke about 'How will Imperial Collage make the most of Lean going forward?' discussing the benefits of Lean LaunchPad

"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.inven2.com/no/forny-forum-2016
 
Description Francis Crick/Imperial College Translational Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Crick's Translational Unit were shown how a national accelerator programme works, and focusses on a single area. They were also given a tour and a presentation on our Lean Canvas Model and Programme. This was part of a wider Imperial College visit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Global Biofoundry meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A meeting was held at Imperial College London on June 21st/22nd 2018, which gathered fifteen[1]of the leading synthetic biology biofoundries from around the world to discuss current activities and exchange information on key capabilities and projects being developed by these groups.
The meeting explored opportunities for collaboration and coordination in areas for global development including standards, software, metrology, automation, and industrial translation. Delegates unanimously indicated a commitment to sharing pre-competitive knowledge and expertise that would collectively benefit the synthetic biology and broader biotechnology communities worldwide.
Interest in developing common protocols and standards, as well as standardised legal tools, to reduce the transaction costs of sharing were among the highlights of the two-day interactive meeting. Other areas of discussion included collective engagement with industry, governments, and other relevant organisations to achieve joint objectives, break down barriers to sharing and leverage interactive opportunities for growth. There was a general commitment to continue to explore the possibility of establishing a global alliance of synthetic biology biofoundries and to work together to define and agree on an operating model. As a starting point, an annual meeting was proposed as was the establishment of small working groups to develop specific areas for global development.
[1]1DOE Agile Biofoundry (US); DAMP, Boston University (US); SIAT Shenzhen (China) Foundry; Concordia University (Canada); Earlham Institute (UK); London DNA Foundry Imperial College (UK); Kobe University (Japan); Macquarie University (Australia); SynCTI NUS (Singapore); Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability DTU (Denmark); Tianjin University (China)l Edinburgh Genome Foundry (UK); BioFAB University of Illinois (US); GeneMill, University of Liverpool; SYNBIOCHEM University of Manchester (UK)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/2018/jun/25/global-biofoundry-meeting-london-june-2018/
 
Description House of Lords Investor Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The SynbiCITE House of Lords Investor Breakfast was kindly hosted by The Lord Willetts - who instigated the Government's '8 Great Technologies' programme to capitalise on backing the right technologies and helping to take them through to market, one of which is Synthetic Biology/Engineering Biology.
The aim of this international Investor Breakfast is part of our continued investor introductions to synthetic biology and fast growing synthetic biology/engineering biology companies looking for investment. SynbiCITE, the National Industrial Translation Centre for Synthetic Biology, continues to play an important role in growing the UK's BioEconomy and the wider economy.
The five companies who pitched were: Colorifix; LabGenius; Prokarium; Zentraxa and Customem.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/2018/apr/25/synbicite-house-lords-investor-breakfast/
 
Description House of Lords Investor Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Investor education for future business growth developing a synthetic biology industry in the UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://synbiobeta.com/conferences/synbiobeta-london-2016/
 
Description ICURe business accelerator programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme, piloted by the SETsquared Partnership and funded by InnovateUK and HEFCE, offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £50k to 'get out of the lab' and validate their ideas in the marketplace.

"I thought I knew my target market for my technology. But this programme is helping our team gain real feedback from potential customers and is dramatically changing the way we view our approach to research commercialisation." - SETsquared ICURe Pilot Programme Participant

ICURe is a collaboration of the SETsquared Partnership, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), designed to move ideas and innovation out of universities and into the marketplace, where they will have the greatest impact.

In 2016-17, the ICURe pilot (phase 2) focusses on commercially-promising research projects undertaken at SETsquared and invited universities. ICURe will fund teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, and then, where there is evidence of market demand, licence or spin-out the research into a company.

Guidance for Applicants

ICURe will fund proposals to prove market demand for research with funding of up to £35k for the 3 month Market Validation stage, with an additional up to £15k available post initial 3 months, where applicable. Applications for the funding should be made by a team of 3 consisting of:

Junior Researcher (ECR)

Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator)

Business Adviser.

ICURe will support three months of full-time, intense market assessment where Junior Researchers take on the role of the Entrepreneurial Lead, engaging with prospective customers, partners and competitors, taking steps to validate the commercial potential of their research.

At the end of the 3 months, participating teams will present their opportunity to an options panel that will offer the team expert guidance on recommended development pathways. The options proposed can include carrying out further research, exploring licensing opportunities, seeking private funding for spin-out or, for those projects that have demonstrated strong market potential by the end of the market validation, the panel may recommend a commercial oppoirtunity exists. If this is the case, commercialisation staff from the universities, ICURe programme team members and university incubators, will work with each team so that they can be fast-tracked into creating a start-up company.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.setsquared.co.uk/research-commercialisation/applications-cohort-8-are-open
 
Description IP Masterclass with FieldFisher 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SynbiCITE in association with leading European technology and life sciences focussed law firm FieldFisher ran an IP Masterclass for technology transfer offices (TTOs) at Universities working in synthetic biology and related fields, with academics, spin outs and start-ups. The aim of the masterclass was to encourage academics, potential university spin-outs and TTOs around the UK to better and more quickly exploit IP around synthetic biology so we can create more value in the UK from exploiting our worldclass R&D in synthetic biology from universities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Imperial College London IB and SB Technology Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event showcased work going on at Imperial in the area of Engineering Biology. The event was hosted by the Synthetic Biology Hub and the Industrial Biotechnology Hub. Keynote talk on UK Government Strategy for Engineering Biology was Professor Janet Bainbridge OBE, and were further presentations from leaders in the field from industry and Imperial.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/eventssummary/event_9-5-2017-11-29-54
 
Description Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In January 2016 and 2017 the KTN ran a series of workshops for innovators and researchers to engage with Innovate UK and the Research Councils and share thoughts on what the challenges addressed by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund might be. Professor Richard Kitney and Dr Steve Chambers attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL https://www.ktn-uk.co.uk/articles/ktn-to-run-series-of-industrial-strategy-challenge-fund-workshops
 
Description Interview with Beth Baker - American Institute of Biological Sciences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Dr Stephen Chambers, SynbiCITE's CEO was interviewed for an article on the new bioeconomy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix101
 
Description Kenyan Workshop to Establish UK/East African Collaborations in Practical Synthetic Biology, Nairobi 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting objectives included: Develop programmes on synthetic biology research and training; identify practical applications for synthetic biology solutions and biotechnologies; establish networks and solutions on synthetic biology between Eastern African and UK researchers; facilitate communication, information exchange and education on synthetic biology. This meeting was financially supported by UKRI and specifically by BBSRC, as part of ongoing efforts to interact and inform upcoming RI funding Calls.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (LEAP) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Each year about twenty Fellows - emerging leaders working in diverse areas of biotechnology - are selected to participate.

LEAP envisions catalysing a next generation of leaders in synthetic biology by providing the environment to learn skills for engaging a broad range of stakeholders in the development of the field with a strong ethical foundation for the future.
LEAP does this by:
Investing in the individuals who will ultimately shape and govern this diverse, growing and globally distributed technology.
Providing them with new tools and networks essential to achieving their visions for promoting innovation responsibly in practice.
Acting as a sustaining nexus of resources and support as leaders assume their roles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/leap/
 
Description Lean Launchpad 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology course is a 10-week long programme for those looking to commercialise their research. The programme is an ideal pre-accelerator environment for helping students, academic and industrial researchers, and pre-seed companies identify their customers, interview them to get insights about the opportunity, and help them build the right product for these customers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/lean-launchpad/
 
Description Lean Launchpad Educators Programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Lean LaunchPad entrepreneurship education curriculum provides an effective integrated approach that adapts these critical processes into an exciting learning journey for students and faculty alike, while helping extend the classroom into the business community and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Adopted by the National Science Foundation in the United States, and hundreds of universities world-wide, the curriculum has emerged as the new standard of excellence in experiential entrepreneurship education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/lean-launchpad-educators-programme/
 
Description Life Tech DNA Synthetic Training day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This workshop was run by SynbiCITE and helped industry adopt new technology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Nature Knows Best 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact As part of our commitment to communicate the benefits of Synthetic Biology to both industry and the wider public, SynbiCITE has produced the documentary 'Nature Knows Best' in partnership with Business Reporter magazine.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/SynbiCITE-videos/nature-knows-best/
 
Description OBN Awards 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The OBN Awards 2017 celebrate innovation and outstanding achievements across the UK life sciences industry. Categories are broad ranging and include biotech, medtech, synthetic biology, digital healthcare and investment. SynbiCITE sponsored Best Emerging UK Synthetic Biology Company. Professor Richard Kitney and Dr John Collins attended, and presented the award to Synpromics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.obn-awards.com/the-finalists-2017/
 
Description OBN BioTuesday - Oxford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The topic of the evening was Engineering Biology for a Better World. Speakers at this event shared an insight into Engineering Biology and explored the current applications of concepts and methods of biology, that are being used to solve real world problems. They also addressed the associated opportunities and challenges of these new applications for the wider life science industry. Professor Richard Kitney Chaired this evening, and the event was sponsored by SynbiCITE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description OBN Senior Executive Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Senior Executive Breakfast Clubs are a unique peer to peer networking platform for life sciences senior executives with all discussions held under Chatham House Rules which ensures full, frank and useful disclosure. The topic was "how to navigate the US investment landscape", and included types of investment available in the US and pros, cons and regulatory considerations of each type. Keynote presentations from Professor Paul Freemont, Co-Director of SynbiCITE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description OBN Senior Executive Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact SynbiCITE sponsored an OBN Senior Executive breakfast. These breakfasts are a unique peer-to-peer networking platform for life sciences senior execs with all discussions held under Chatham House Rules which ensures full, frank and useful disclosure.
Discussions at this edition will address the topic of: 'How to Navigate the US Investment Landscape' and will include the types of investment available in the US and the pros, cons and regulatory considerations of each type.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Parliamentary Links Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact TO BE COMPLETED - SC ATTENDED
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Programme Expert Group member - Chemical and Biological Metrology and Advanced Manufacturing Metrology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Determination of international projects relating to new metrology and development of standards for chemical and biological industries and advance manufacturing industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.tuvnel.com/national_measurement_institutes
 
Description Royal Academy of Engineering/SynbiCITE visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visit of Chief Executive of The Royal Academy of Engineering and colleagues. The Chief Exec and 4 of her colleagues were given a tour and overview of SynbiCITE.....
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Singapore Trade and Investment Missions organised in conjunction with NUS and British High Commission 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The basic objectives of the meeting were to provide an overview of the field of synthetic biology and how it is developing, particularly from the point of view of industrialisation and commercialization. A purpose of the meeting was to stimulate these areas by providing a forum for a discussion about industrialisation, commercialisation and investment in the field, with particular emphasis on collaborative industrial projects and investment. Those attending the meeting comprised industrialists, investors and people working on the science and engineering of industrial translation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Sky News at the SynbiCITE Foundry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Sky News' report on the opening of the SynbiCITE Foundry for synthetic biology, 6th April 2016. Resulting in an increase in information requests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/SynbiCITE-videos/sky-news-synbicite-foundry/
 
Description Synapse Connect Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Synapse is a student driven non-profit organisation in a the Copenhagen area that creates events, workshops and networking opportunities for students and young professionals with an interest in perusing careers in a life science environment. SynbiCITE, together with the Synthetic Biology Imperial College (SynBIC) organised talks with regard to synthetic biology in the UK. Professor Kitney spoke to the group and they were given a tour of the SynbiCITE labs. The Imperial College iGEM team gave a talk on their 2016 iGEM competition win.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Synthetic Biology Conference/Trade Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Business orientated workshop resulted in increased engagement between business and academia
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Synthetic Biology Industrial Translation Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This event imarked a significant milestone in SynbiCITE's history. Over the last four years SynbiCITE has played a leading role in successfully putting UK synthetic biology/engineering biology on the agenda for industry, investors and policy makers - as a technology that can make a significant economic impact and a positive difference to the world.
World-leading speakers from industry, academia, investors and government participated in the meeting. They delivered fresh insights on the future of engineering biology, its relevance to the UK economy, and the impact our leading businesses are making on the future of health, agriculture, manufacturing, biofuels, water purification and pharmaceutical & medical technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/events/synbio-industrial-translation-showcase/
 
Description Synthetic Biology: Does industry get it? Conference at The Royal Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Paul Freemont was part of the organising committee for this event. The conference provided an honest and open appraisal of how industry is using synthetic biology, acknowledging successes and strengths and also looked at where there are weaknesses or potential risks. Speakers included senior scientists from big industry and academia, who described what challenges they believed synthetic biology can solve.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://royalsociety.org/~/media/events/2017/02/tof-synbio/synthetic-biology-post-conference-report....
 
Description UK US Synthetic Biology Congress 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Standards development in synthetic biology in US and UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description iGEM competition and jamboree (UK & US) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact The iGEM Competition is the premiere student team competition in Synthetic Biology..

For over 10 years, iGEM has been encouraging students to work together to solve real-world challenges by building genetically engineered biological systems with standard, interchangeable parts. Student teams design, build and test their projects over the summer and gather to present their work and compete at the annual Jamboree.

Participation in the iGEM competition empowers teams to manage their own projects, advocate for their research and secure funding. Teams are also challenged to actively consider and address the safety, security and environmental implications of their work. The 2016 Imperial Team led by Dr Guy-Bart Stan and Dr Karen Polizzi, together with Profs Kitney and Freemont won the overall competition at the Jamboree, with their project which was entitled "Ecolibrium - developing a framework for engineering co-cultures". Profs Kitney and Freemont were judges at the 2017 Jamboree.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2016
URL http://2016.igem.org/Main_Page