National Biofilms Innovation Centre generates significant economic impact

National Biofilms Innovation Centre generates significant economic impact

Published on 13/11/2023
National Biofilms Innovation Centre generates significant economic impact

A new economic review has found that the National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC), which the University of Liverpool co-directs, has generated a total economic impact of approximately £204m.

The NBIC is the UK’s centre of excellence for biofilms research and the University of Liverpool is one of its four lead research institutions alongside Edinburgh, Nottingham and Southampton universities.

Liverpool’s involvement is through the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces, a multi-disciplinary initiative to develop new processes and technologies to tackle biofilm and antimicrobial resistance, which is led by Professor Rasmita Raval.

The independent review of the economic impact of Phase 1 of NBIC by Black Kite Ltd highlights its significant economic impact of £204million in addition to contributing to the creation and development of 101 jobs.

Furthermore, NBIC has been instrumental in nurturing talent, with seventy-six students benefiting from support, including sixty-six PhD candidates, six of whom are international students.

NBIC’s Proof of Concept projects have demonstrated environmental and social benefits, totalling £53m. Engaging with over three hundred businesses, including leading corporations, as well as numerous SMEs, NBIC‘s activities span a wide range of sectors, including health, personal care, water management, marine and food production.

Professor Raval, Co-Director of NBIC and Director of the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces at the University of Liverpool said: “The NBIC represents a new model for IKCs, combining the interdisciplinary research power of four universities to drive UK’s global leadership in biofilms science. NBIC’s active academic-industry partnership model accelerates the translation of fundamental research into new technologies and NBIC plays an important role in Liverpool’s growth agenda, and is one of its areas of innovation excellence.”

The NBIC is an Innovation Knowledge Centre (IKC) funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Innovate UK to create a fusion of world-class interdisciplinary research and industry partnerships to deliver breakthrough science and technologies to control and exploit biofilms.

Biofilms are central to our most important global challenges, from antimicrobial resistance and food safety to water security. These communities of living micro-organisms also provide a significant contribution to both the UK and global economy. In May 2022, a study carried out by NBIC estimated that the value of the markets in which biofilms are involved is worth £45 billion in the UK and $4 trillion globally.

In December 2022, BBSRC and Innovate UK invested a further £7.5m to support Phase 2 of the programme to enable NBIC to drive the adoption of innovative solutions across industry sectors to address major global challenges including climate change, water safety and improved healthcare. It will also drive step-changes in standards and regulation for novel biofilm solutions that support international trade.

Dr Lee Beniston FRSB, Associate Director for Industry Partnerships and Collaboration at BBSRC, said:  “There have been so many impressive achievements at NBIC since the centre was established in 2017, which I have had the privilege of being part of. I am delighted that now, through this economic review, there is an opportunity to share and celebrate this success. I offer my congratulations to all those at NBIC, as well as the wider research and innovation communities which NBIC supports, for their role in making NBIC the globally recognised centre of excellence in biofilms research and innovation that it is today. The underpinning collaboration between BBSRC and Innovate UK has been a critical part of this success which I am delighted to see continue for another five years in support of NBIC Phase 2.”

Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for the Healthy Living & Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said:  “We are pleased to see the economic impact and job creation stemming from this successful investment. NBIC assumes a central and critical role in uniting businesses and academic experts to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by biofilms. It illustrates our commitment to driving innovation and supporting the growth of businesses that contribute to the UK’s prosperity.”

About the National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC)

The National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) is an Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) funded by BBSRC and Innovate UK. NBIC was launched in 2017 by its four lead Universities (Edinburgh, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton) and is led by four Co-Directors: Professors Cait MacPhee, Rasmita Raval, Miguel Cámara and Jeremy Webb respectively, alongside CEO Dr Jo Slater-Jefferies.

With a consortium of 63 academic partner institutions across the UK, NBIC is the central hub where academia, industry, government and public policy come together to tackle the grand challenges biofilms present, impacting $4 trillion in global economic activity, from food and health to ships, clean water and energy. NBIC’s mission is to drive research and innovation capacity to catalyse partnerships with industry to achieve breakthrough innovations and impact.

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