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BBSRC Leads UK Joint Synthetic Biology Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Several UK government agencies have partnered to create the Joint Synthetic Biology Initiative to provide £2.4 million ($3.7 million) to fund new research efforts that apply synthetic biology approaches to national security and defense issues.

The new funding call from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Medical Research Council (MRC) was designed to provide support for preliminary, short, innovative, proof-of-concept scientific investigations into such synthetic biology applications.

These projects could include but are not limited to research that could be used to develop new sensors, detectors, diagnostics, and new materials for decontamination for use in biodefense. The research also may use synthetic biology approaches to develop improvements for bioprocesses and metabolic engineering that would support development of these types of technologies.

BBSRC expects to provide up to £120,000 to fund 20 projects that last between six months and two years.

"Through this collaboration we have identified a shared interest in biosensors, diagnostics, and new materials that has allowed us to leverage funds to support a cohort of research in synthetic biology," BBSRC Chief Executive Douglas Kell said in a statement Tuesday.

"This is a good opportunity for BBSRC to invest in research that will expand the field of synthetic biology through the development of knowledge, tools and technologies; capacity building; and strengthened networks of researchers in academia and industry."

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