10 March 2023 | Muriel Cozier

SCI's Daily Digest: your one-stop shop for all of the day's news in science based industry

Innovation, careers, energy, environment, and health are all in the news today, with stories ranging from a review of UK university research to the need to triple renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade to meet climate targets, and concerns that global coffee production is facing major threats due to climate change.


An independent review for the UK Government on turning university research into commercial success will be led by Professor Irene Tracy CBE and Dr Andrew Williamson. The review is part of the UK Chancellor’s vision to nurture the world’s next Silicon Valley. At the same time a wide ranging review of the UK’s research and investment landscape is to get underway on 13 March. Rachel Kent, Senior partner in financial services at Hogan Lovells, will chair the review.

Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute has said a review which he led on behalf of the UK government highlights significant problems about the UK’s RDI endeavour, some of which are longstanding and serious. Opening up its space to collaborative endeavour, the Francis Crick Institute is to convert the roof space of it building into laboratory. The life science laboratory, known as Skylab, is due to become available by spring 2024. MSD is among the first partners lined up to occupy the space.

Sabic is to collaborate with Coolbrook, a technology and engineering company, to assess Coolbrook’s Roto Dyanmic Reactor technology in support of decarbonising Sabic’s ethylene production. Sabic said that it is committed to meeting its ambition to see a 20% fall in carbon emissions by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050.


A new national institute tasked with ensuring that the UK has the technical capability and capacity across academia, research, education and innovation so that the country can become a science super power is set to be launched. The UK Institute of Technical Skills and Strategy (ITSS) has £5.5 million in funding and is backed by several organisations and universities.


COP 28 President Designate, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Chairman of Masdar, Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, said that renewable energy capacity needs to triple by the end of the decade if the world is to meet its climate targets. His comments were made at CERAweek, held in Houston, Texas, US 6 March to 10 March.


MPs in the UK are calling on the Chancellor to give the green light to Scotland’s planned hydrogen and CCS project known as Acorn. MP’s in the Scottish Affairs Committee said that: ‘If policy gaps are addressed, and the UK Government jumps on the opportunities in Scotland, we could be a major exporter of clean energy with thriving clusters and local economies.’

For those who love their morning coffee, the following may come as distressing news. Research from Australia’s CSIRO and the University of Southern Queensland ‘confirms’ that global coffee production is facing major threats due to ‘increasing and concurrent hazards’ fuelled by climate change. It was found that across the world’s top 12 coffee producing regions climate hazards had increased between 1980 and 2020.


Moving ahead on proposals to restrict PFAS, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) is to start a six-month consultation on 22 March. A webinar on 5 April will provide more details and an opportunity to ask questions. At the same time the European Food Safety Authority has said salmonella and campylobacter are resistant to antimicrobials commonly used in humans and animals. The comments follow the publication of a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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