The University of York has published a Science and Innovation Audit on behalf of industry, universities, agricultural colleges, and LEPs focussing on the Bioeconomy of the North of England.

The consortium envisages a region where innovation-driven products, processes and services in the bioeconomy will lead to the region having gained global recognition by 2030 with its international profile attracting significant inward-investment to create and sustain high-value jobs and companies.

Key Strengths

  • The North of England is underpinned by over 16000 companies working in the bioeconomy with an annual turnover of more than £91bn, employing over 400,000 people.
  • Significant innovation and translational organisations are sited in ther North, for example Fera Science Ltd, the Centre for Process Innovation, the Biorenewables Development Facility, and the Materials Innovation Factory.
  • The region emplys 38% of the UK’s chemical workforce, 31% of the polymer industry workforce and 36% of bioeconomy-relevant apprenticeships.

Gap Analysis

  • Translation of sector-specific research into innovative products and services is not fully coordinated.
  • Commercial-scale processing of biomass currently lacking critical mass for clustering and innovation.
  • Transportation bottlenecks between the east and west of the Pennines.
  • Policy framework for biofuels and bioenergy uncertain, and a lack of renewables incentives for biomass-derived high-value products.

Next Steps

  • Establish a “Northern Bioinnovation” to coordinate innvoation support for businesses across the region.
  • Provide a 5-year innovation support programme managed by Northern Bioinnovation to support innovation, skills, and capital grants.
  • Work with government to review the policy framework relating to biorenewables.
  • Establish an ‘advanced bio-manufacturing park’ as a bio-cluster and develop a substation venture fund to support businesses in the region.

For more information, see here

Download the full report here