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New projects to raise UK profile in synthetic biology
Date:5/29/2008

Four UK Research Councils have come together to announce funding for new projects designed to rapidly build the UKs expertise and capacity in the emerging field of synthetic biology. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have awarded funding to seven new networks in synthetic biology to allow UK researchers to build links across institutions and discipline boundaries to form a true synthetic biology community. The networks, which formally involve eight universities, will have a strong social and ethical dimension and, where relevant to the projects, also have funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Synthetic biology is the engineering of biology: the synthesis of complex, biologically based, or inspired, systems which display functions that do not exist in nature. Many scientists believe that this approach will ultimately result in the rational and systematic design of systems that may help us to address the major challenges of the future. Possible applications of synthetic biology could include the creation of systems to generate power, new medical applications, nanoscale biological computers, new approaches to cleaning up dangerous waste or sensitive biosensors for health or security applications. The new projects announced by the Research Councils aim to increase capability so that the UK is at the forefront of this research and a significant part of this will entail bringing bioscientists, engineers, computer scientists and others together.

The networks being announced today are centred on: the University of Bristol, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, University College London & Birkbeck College, the University of Nottingham, the University of Oxford and the University of Sheffield. The total investment by the Research Councils is almost 900,000; the network
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Contact: Matt Goode
matt.goode@bbsrc.ac.uk
44-179-341-3299
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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