The University of Manchester was awarded £10.3 million from BBSRC/EPSRC to set up the Centre for Synthetic Biology of Fine and Speciality Chemicals (SYNBIOCHEM), to develop new faster, more predictable and reliable “greener” routes to fine and speciality chemicals production. Their vision is to harness the power of Synthetic Biology (SynBio) to propel chemicals and natural products production towards ’green’ and sustainable manufacturing processes. More broadly, the Centre will provide the general tools, technology platforms and SynBio ‘know-how’ to drive academic discovery and translate new knowledge and processes towards industrial exploitation, through active collaborations with a large variety of industry partners. The technology will lead to new products and methods for drug development, such as new antibiotics, and agricultural chemicals and new materials for sustainable manufacturing.

The Centre will develop a series of unique and highly integrated interdisciplinary technology platforms and a truly world-leading physical infrastructure for contemporary fine and speciality chemicals production. These platforms will drive multiple science programs to accelerate the delivery of bespoke SynBio solutions for chemicals synthesis by adopting modular “plug and play” platform approaches and a production pipeline that embraces the “design-build-test-deploy” life-cycle for turning knowledge assets into innovative chemicals production solutions. The emerging societal, ethical, and regulatory challenges (Responsible Research and Innovation, RRI) associated with this rapidly advancing new technology are addressed in close interaction with social scientists and economists across The University of Manchester and involve a variety of stakeholders and publics in mutual learning about potential future benefits and risks.

FAIRDOM has been partnered with SYNBIOCHEM since its inception to support data management, and expand support of FAIRDOM suite for synthetic biology projects. You can visit their website for further information.