New funding awarded to develop Yorkshire’s bioeconomy

The University of York has been awarded £1.5m to support the growth of Yorkshire businesses that deliver innovative products, processes or services related to renewable, biological resources. The funding has been awarded to the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), a University of York subsidiary, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The BDC is now able to offer 80 pre-funded projects for eligible businesses in selected Yorkshire regions by 2020. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must be located in the Leeds City Region, which covers much of North, West and South Yorkshire. This follows on from the BDC’s previous popular business support programmes which helped more than 300 local SMEs since 2012.

The production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, energy, chemicals and other materials is referred to as the bioeconomy.

Joe Ross, Director at the Biorenewables Development Centre said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local companies to get support to develop innovative products or processes in an exciting high growth sector.”

There will also be funding through this programme to develop cluster-building activities by the regions BioVale innovation cluster.

Sarah Hickingbottom, CEO at BioVale added: “BioVale will complement the BDC’s R&D offering by facilitating networking and dialogue, building collaborations and coordinating specialised training with businesses working in the bioeconomy.

“If you are working with renewable or waste materials this is a unique opportunity to access tailored support”.

The Yorkshire region has a large and thriving bioeconomy. A Government-commissioned Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) of the bioeconomy in the north of England revealed there are over 16,000 bioeconomy related companies in the north of England, with a total annual turnover of over £91 billion, employing around 415,000 people. The UK’s bioeconomy is estimated to be worth £220 billion gross value added (GVA) and the government’s recently published bioeconomy strategy has set ambitious targets to double its size by 2030.

Note for editors:

1. Companies must be located in the Leeds City Region which covers much of north, west and south Yorkshire. For a map of the eligible regions covered by this funding, visit the Leeds City Region LEP website (applicants should also note that Barnsley is not included within the Leeds City Region for ESIF purposes).

2. The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) is a University of York subsidiary, working at the interface between academia and industry to develop, scale-up and help commercialise new technologies using biomass and biowastes.

3. BioVale is an initiative to develop and promote innovation for the bioeconomy across Yorkshire and the Humber.  It is a non-profit company, led by a steering group with representatives from industry, academia and local government.

4. This project, named the Bioeconomy Growth Programme, has received £1.5M of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

Further information:

Dr Tom North, Business Development Unit Manager, Biorenewables Development Centre

+44 (0)1904 328056

tom.north@york.ac.uk