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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L01520X/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership
Principal Investigator: Lye, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Szita, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Bio Products Laboratory Cell Therapy Catapult Limited Centre for Process Innovation Limited
ELI Lilly and Company Evonik Industries AG (International) FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies UK Ltd
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) Henley Biotechnology Consultancy ImmunoBiology Limited
Lonza Biologics MedImmune Limited (UK) Oxford BioMedica (UK) Ltd
Pall Corporation Pfizer Procter & Gamble
Public Health England Puridify LTD Sigma-Aldrich Company Ltd (UK)
Synthace Ltd TAP Biosystems The UK Stem Cell Foundation
TMO Renewables Ltd UCB Westfalia Separator Limited
Department: Biochemical Engineering
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 October 2014 Ends: 31 March 2023 Value (£): 4,426,101
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biochemical engineering Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel B Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK government recognises that 'our economy is driven by high levels of skills and creativity' and has prioritised investment in skills as a means to recovery rapidly from the current economic downturn (HM Government: New Industry, New Jobs, 2009). Bioprocessing skills underpin the controlled culture of cells and microorganisms and the design of safe, environmentally friendly and cost-effective bio-manufacturing processes. Such skills are generic and are increasingly being applied in the chemical, pharmaceutical and regenerative medicine sectors.

Recent reports, however, highlight specific skills shortages that constrain the UK's capacity to capitalise on opportunities for wealth and job creation in these areas. They emphasise the need for bioprocessing skills related to the application of 'mathematical skills... to biological sciences', in core bioprocess operations such as 'fermentation' and 'downstream processing' and, for many engineering graduates 'inadequate practical experience'. UK companies have reported specific problems in 'finding creative people to work in fermentation and downstream processing' (ABPI: Sustaining the Skills Pipeline, 2005 & 2008) and in finding individuals capable of addressing 'challenges that arise with scaling-up production using biological materials' (Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team report: Maximising UK Opportunities from Industrial Biotechnology, 2009). Bioprocessing skills are also scarce internationally. Many UK companies have noted 'the difficulties experienced in recruiting post-graduates and graduates conversant with bioprocessing skills is widespread and is further exaggerated by the pull from overseas (Bioscience Innovation and Growth Team report: Bioscience 2015, 2003 & 2009 update).

The EPSRC Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership has a successful track record of equipping graduate scientists and engineers with the bioprocessing skills needed by UK industry. It will deliver a 'whole bioprocess' training theme based around fermentation and downstream processing skills which will benefit from access to a superbly equipped £25M bioprocess pilot plant. The programme is designed to accelerate graduates into doctoral research and to build a multidisciplinary research cohort. Many of the advanced bioprocessing modules will be delivered via our MBI Training Programme which benefits from input by some 70 industry experts annually (www.ucl.ac.uk/biochemeng/industry/mbi). Research projects will be carried out in collaboration with many of the leading UK chemical and pharmaceutical companies. The IDC will also play an important role supporting research activities within biotechnology-based small to medium size enterprises (SMEs). The need for the IDC is evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of EngD graduates progress to relevant bioindustry careers upon graduation.

This proposal will enable the IDC to train the next generation of bioindustry leaders capable of exploiting rapid progress in the underpinning biological sciences. Advances in Synthetic Biology in particular now enable the rational design of biological systems to utilise sustainable sources of raw materials and for improved manufacturing efficiency. These will lead to benefits in the production of chemicals and biofuels, in the synthesis of chemical and biological pharmaceuticals and in the culture of cells for therapy. The next generation of IDC graduates will also possess a better understand of the global context in which UK companies must now operate. This will be achieved by providing each EngD researcher with international placement opportunities and new training pathways either in bioprocess enterprise and innovation or in manufacturing excellence. In this way we will provide the best UK science and engineering graduates with internationally leading research and training opportunities and so contribute to the future success of the UK bioprocess industries.
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