New NIBBs announced
In March 2014, the BBSRC launched an ambitious project to kick-start Industrial Biotechnology in the UK, known as the BBSRC-NIBBs (Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy) to encourage collaboration between academia, industry policy makers and NGOs. 13 NIBBs were born, each with its own primary focus, and one of these, C1net was awarded to SBRC Director Professor Nigel Minton to champion his gas fermentation work.
In the intervening five years, much progress has been made: membership stands at 545 with members from Europe, India, USA, Russia, China, South Korea and New Zealand; there are 500 followers on Twitter and a total of 18 POC awards of £50,000 and 18 BIV awards of £10,000 have been made. Additionally, C1net has hosted 5 workshops, 2 sandpits and 5 conferences; has commissioned 4 reports and to kick-start the next generation of fermentation scientists has held 43 outreach events (including 2 at New Scientist Live) and awarded 5 summer studentships.
In recognition of NIBB success, the BBSRC have awarded follow-on funding resulting in the evolution of 6 new NIBBs. BBSRC confidence in the potential of gas fermentation at Nottingham was realised in the shape of CCnet – Carbon reCycling: converting waste derived GHG into chemicals, fuels and animal feed, which launched on 1 April 2019.
The new network will not only continue the work done by C1net, but will also bring in those communities working on photosynthetic (cyanobacteria) and autotrophic CO2 utilising chassis as well as exploring the potential of anaerobic digestion as a feedstock generator.