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Fund backs Teesside project

Tuesday 27 November 2012 6:00

A biotechnology project on Teesside has won a seven-figure share of a £125m government fund which aims to grow the UK’s advanced manufacturing supply chain.

The BioMOD project, based at Wilton and headed up by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), is the region’s only successful recipient of round one funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), it was announced yesterday.

Although the amount of funding BioMOD received is undisclosed, it is understood to be a multi-million pound package.

The first round of the fund – amounting to £80m of joint public and private sector funds being invested in 11 projects – will create or safeguard over 2,160 jobs according to the government.

BioMOD encompasses a plan to establish a next generation high value manufacturing capability for the UK’s industrial biotechnology sector. The project will be supported by partners from around the country including sector leaders and academia.

“North East England is helping to lead the way in biotechnologies, so I welcome the success of the BioMOD project to further strengthen the UK’s capability in this field,” said business secretary Vince Cable.

“Over half the UK’s exports and almost three quarters of our business research and development activity is in manufacturing, so it’s vital that we create the right conditions to encourage growth in the industry.

“The successful applications in AMSCI round one represent a high quality of projects that bring together businesses and forge new partnerships across various supply chains that will strengthen our presence in Europe and the world.”

Partners on the BioMOD project include ECOSYL Products, BioProcess Engineering Services, the Blyth-based National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) and the University of Leeds.

Dr Chris Dowle, director of sustainable processing at the CPI, said: “The BioMOD project will facilitate lower cost, high quality, flexible production for continuous fermentation processes.

“The platform will offer affordable infrastructure for sustainable manufacturing which addresses challenges for key sectors delivering lower capital costs, scalability issues, and lack of manufacturing capacity.

“The BioMOD project engages the established manufacturing supply chain within the process sector enabling the industry to innovate and stay competitive in this high-growth global market.”

Of the £80m investment committed to projects in Round 1, around £30m has been awarded from the initiative subject to due diligence with a further £50m being leveraged from private sector partners.

The investments will finance and strengthen 11 manufacturing supply chain projects across the automotive, aerospace and chemical sectors – key areas of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

AMSCI is part funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and is delivered in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency – and Birmingham City Council as the accountable authority, on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.