DSIT engineering biology lead wants experts for steering group

4 March 2024 | Muriel Cozier

It will function as a ‘two-way channel’ between the government and the wider sector.

Engineering biology is defined as the application of rigorous engineering principles to biology, enabling the construction of new or redesigned biological systems, such as cells or proteins, with applications across numerous sectors.

Now, the UK government’s Department of Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is calling for experts from academia, SMEs and industry to steer its development in the UK.

The UK government's vision for engineering biology is making steady progress, according to Mark Renshaw, who leads engineering biology policy at DSIT.

Speaking at an SCI event, Engineering Biology: Translation from Academia to Industry, held on 29 February at SCI headquarters in London, he announced that the Engineering Biology Steering Group (EBSG) is open for expressions of interest until 17 March. ‘The expert group will support the engineering biology policy work being undertaken by DSIT and its collaborating departments,’ said Renshaw.

The group will have two main areas of focus. The first is to advise and assist government development and delivery of the National Vision for Engineering Biology, assessing progress and making recommendations to shape priorities for implementation. The second is to address the five of the vision’s six workstreams, these being research and development, infrastructure, talent and skills, regulations and standards, and uptake by the economy.

Functioning as a ‘two-way channel’ between the government and the wider sector, the EBSG will allow DSIT to understand the views of the entire sector, while stakeholders will know that they can engage with DSIT and be heard.

Renshaw added that the new steering group, which will be chaired by science minister Andrew Griffith MP, will include experts from academia, SMEs and industry. Applications are encouraged from across the UK and from a range of sectors including health, agriculture, and chemicals.

Renshaw also shared that six new mission hubs had been established, which included environmental biotechnology innovation, and preventing plastic pollution with engineering biology. Each mission hub is led by an academic institution.

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