We use cookies to help our website work better and collect anonymous usage information. If you’re OK with this, please continue to use our website. close

Courtesy of The Scottish Association of Marine Science

Algae-UK and IBioIC join forces to support sustainable production

25 June 2020

Algae-UK and IBioIC have announced the winners of a joint funding call on Polymers and Pigments. Seven joint academic and industrial projects will be supported to address technical challenges in delivering bio-polymers and natural pigments, dyes and inks from algae.

The compounds derived from algae, a highly sustainable source material, have broad applications in areas ranging from novel food ingredients to components of cosmetics and personal care products to packaging, printing, textiles, fabrics and healthcare. The winners of the funding call will seek to further progress and develop production of sustainable, algae-derived products for these sectors.

Algae-UK and IBioIC were able to fund half of all the project submissions received. The industry partner support given to these projects adds an additional 67% to the total contribution from Algae-UK and IBioIC, a figure which demonstrates industry commitment to sustainability in these sectors.

Algae-UK and IBioIC are now looking forward to seeing the future results of these projects and collaborations, and hope to run further joint calls in the future following the success of the Polymers and Pigments funding call.

Dr Mark Bustard, Chief Executive Officer, IBioIC said:

“IBioIC is proud to be working with Algae-UK on the successful project winners of the Polymers and Pigments funding call.

“The proposed use of algae in the projects listed demonstrates how biotechnology can be used to find innovative solutions to modern problems. Sustainable source materials contribute to the low carbon agenda and a circular economy, whilst simultaneously advancing the sustainability of several key industry sectors.

“The significant support given to the projects from industry highlights the value placed on developing sustainable solutions and securing the supply chain for Scotland and the wider UK.”

Professor Saul Purton, Director Algae-UK said:

“We are delighted to be working with IBioIC in funding this exciting array of projects.  Algae have such a broad range of applications and huge potential in delivering sustainable solutions so we value collaborating with others in supporting such projects.  Polymers and pigments are particularly topical at the moment with the drive towards more sustainable fashion and packaging, but as we discovered through the range of proposals received – their applications are almost limitless.  We really look forward to seeing the results from these projects and how they progress beyond this first step.”


List of the winners of the Polymers and Pigments funding call

  1. The development of a greener extraction process for the production of alginate for medical application; Chenyu Du, University of Huddersfield (Algae-UK)
  2. Optimisation and characterisation of bioactive fractions from brown seaweed extracts; Gordon McDougall, James Hutton Institute (Algae-UK)
  3. Using algae to develop next generation sunscreens (ALGAE-SUN), Carole Llewellwyn, Swansea University (Algae-UK)
  4. Production scale up of a thermotolerant C-phycocyanin from a mesophilic cyanobacterial bio-platform; Alistair McCormick, University of Edinburgh (IBioIC)
  5. Green Chemistry for Blue Pigments: An LCA-based toolkit to support decision making for algal bioprocesses; Brenda Parker, University College London (Algae-UK)
  6. A novel technology for stress-free, light-induced synthesis of carotenoid pigments in microalgae; Michele Stanley, Scottish Association for Marine Science (IBioIC)
  7. The extraction and characterisation of brown algae for bioactive treatments against pests and pathogens of crop plants; Thomas Torode, University of Keele (Algae-UK)

For more information contact Debbie McCreath, Public Affairs Manager at IBioIC on debbie.mccreath@iboic.com or 07446257176.


Further information

About the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) is a networking and support organisation that connects industry, academia and government to bring biotechnology processes and products to the global market. It does this by offering scale-up facilities, talent development, funding provision, and promotion of Scotland’s unique assets.

IBioIC was established in 2014 to fulfil the aims of the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology to grow a £900m biotechnology industry in Scotland by 2025. Biotechnology uses plant-based and waste resources to produce or process materials, chemicals and energy, offering green and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels in everything from energy to medicines to food packaging.

IBioIC supports over 130 companies, 50 research projects, and works with 18 Scottish universities and research institutes. IBioIC is hosted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow’s Innovation District.



About Algae UK

We are a network supporting researchers and others interested in the exploitation of algal products and processes in industrial biotechnology.

We are one of six phase II Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB) supported by the BBSRC. The aim is to encourage closer links between academics and industry in order to translate the smart ideas and concepts developed out of these relationships into workable solutions that transition into real world products and processes that impact all our lives: whether it is through reducing the impact our travel, food or clothing has on the environment or increasing the range of products that improve our health. Or maybe even in ways we don’t yet know or can envisage.

Based on the success of the NIBB phase I network, PHYCONET, Algae-UK is well positioned to expand their remit to include macroalgae (seaweeds), microalgae and cyanobacteria and like PHYCONET we have some core scientific themes which will be running through ours and our members’ activities:

  • Strain domestication and development of platform species
  • Exploitation of algal metabolic diversity
  • Biomass production and downstream processing
  • Assess opportunities and barriers to commercialisation

Algae-UK will serve as the hub for the UK algal biosciences research community, businesses operating in this industrial biotechnology (IB) sector, and other stakeholders – creating the critical mass of expertise, effort and focus needed to achieve key step-changes and make the UK a leading player in algal biotechnology. We will continue to support those researching and working with or using the products coming from algae through funding schemes for small scale collaborative projects, running networking events and encouraging collaboration and engagement at all levels.

Algae-UK is free to join and we welcome new members, so if you would like to find out more please visit www.algae-uk.org.uk or contact us at info@algae-uk.org.uk.