NBIC Annual Report 2020 – Now Available for Download

The National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) Annual Report 2020 is now available to download. This report covers our key achievements to date, our future plans for training, case studies, our international strategy and all of the Proof of Concept (POC) projects that we are funding.

Foreword – A few words from our CEO, Dr Mark Richardson

NBIC is still a relatively young organisation but I am proud that we have achieved so much since our formation in late 2017. I reflect that our USA partner group, the Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE) in Montana, is celebrating its 30th year! Our ambition is to be equally enduring. We were formed to support and connect the biofilm community across industry and academia in the UK. In the challenging circumstances we currently face globally, it’s clear that never has the importance of innovation and science been so critical.

From day one it has been our intent to behave in a national, inclusive and transparent way to benefit our community. Our primary focus as we mature is to harness and translate the capability, knowledge and technology in the prevention, detection, management and engineering of biofilms across the UK. We have also worked to connect ourselves internationally, including forming alliances with the CBE in the USA and the Singapore National Biofilms Consortium (SNBC) so that we are able to facilitate collaboration between our academic and industrial partners beyond the UK.

I am delighted that our membership now includes 52 UK research institutions and that these academic partners share our desire to collaborate and connect with the (approximately) 250 companies we have talked to and visited across a range of sectors. We aim to connect unmet industrial and commercial needs and possible scientific or technological solutions that may exist in our partners. We do this both through personal introduction, and by sharing needs and solutions across our network.

We endeavour to build on three key pillars that our funders (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and the Hartree Centre) have asked us to establish, namely:

Research

Our funding has allowed us to recruit 12 Interdisciplinary Research Fellows (IRFs) across our founding core four universities who are now all actively engaged in a mixture of underpinning research and collaborating with industry.

Innovation 

We have run three Proof of Concept (POC) calls, receiving 144 applications from companies and research partners, from which we have awarded 65 POC projects, representing a £3.6m investment from NBIC and a total value of £5.4m. In addition, we have run 4 themed workshops resulting in policy papers and multiple industry/academic collaborations and connections. All of this is supported by a core NBIC team including three field-based sector specialists who visit and connect our partner companies and research institutions.

Training

We have a cohort of 9 PhD students across our four core universities for whom we are running a core Doctoral Training Programme, which is also available to our IRF group. We are proud to be running our first entrepreneurial training and support programme in conjunction with Alderley Park.

As we enter our third full year, I see that everyone involved in NBIC across the UK is as committed as ever to our vision of delivering both breakthrough science and technologies to control and exploit biofilms, and to inspire the next generation of research leaders and entrepreneurs.