Industrial biotechnology entails the industrial application of modern biotechnological methods, enzymes and microorganisms for the production of a diverse range of commodities, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and feed ingredients, detergents, textiles, energy and materials. Industrial biotechnology is globally anticipated to become a major driver for establishing a sorely needed sustainable bioeconomy.
The primary objective of SFI Industrial Biotechnology (SFI-IB) is to become a key instrument for moving Norway towards a more prominent international position within industrial biotechnology in terms of increased competitiveness of Norwegian biotech-based industry and provision of innovations with national and international large market potential. SFI-IBs R&D&I will focus on defined innovation domains including: i) Sustainable value creation from land-based and marine biomass and gaseous substrates, ii) Industrial enzymes and biocatalytic processes, iii) Fermentation processes and microbial cell factories and iv) C1 fermentation from industrial gasses, CCU and biogas. The highlighted products are food and feed ingredients, nutraceuticals, enzymes, biopolymers, vaccines and biopharmaceuticals.
The SFI-IB consortium consists of 4 research organisations, SINTEF (host), NORCE, NTNU and NMBU and, 15 industrial partners, DuPont Nutrition Norge AS, AlgiPharma AS, Norilia AS, Nutrimar AS, Skretting AS, Second Circle, Vesterålen havbruk AS, Biocatalysts Inc, ArcticZymes AS, Vectron Biosolutions AS, Xellia Pharmaceuticals AS, Pharmaq AS, Renevo AS, Borregaard and TINE and the industry cluster Eyde Innovation Centre. Jointly the SFI-IB partners possess central competence and infrastructure in industrial biotechnology in Norway. The industry partners have clearly defined innovation needs that will be addressed in SFI-IB by national coordination of research and competence building, training of future employees, and use of leading national biotech infrastructure.
The consortium agreement was signed in January 2021, and the centre is now fully operative. The activities are based on strategies and plans made jointly by the industry- and the research partners of SFI-IB. The communication platforms and the centre bodies are well established. The research in SFI-IB is organised in seven interlinked sub-projects where both generic technology establishment and innovation is highlighted. Education and training of future Industrial Biotech industry employees in is an important focus area of SFI-IB, and approximately 20 PhDs/Postdocs will be financed by the Centre. 6 PhDs and one Postdoc have started this autumn. SFI-IB seeks collaboration with other large running projects/initiatives within Industrial biotechnology. This involves also cooperation with new large projects who are now in an early phase involving SFI-IB partners and with focus on SFI-IB relevant technology. Establishment and collaboration with associated projects are important for realisation of the innovations and goals of SFI-IB.
Industrial biotechnology entails the industrial application of modern biotechnological methods, enzymes and microorganisms for production of a very wide range of commodities, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and feed ingredients, detergents, textiles, energy, materials and polymers. As industrial biotechnology is globally anticipated to become a major driver for establishing a sorely needed sustainable bioeconomy, there is a tremendous international activity concerning the development of new technological capability, new application domains, optimization of production pipelines and product diversification. The interest from the Research organisations and the industry partners in Centre for Industrial Biotechnology reflects the urgent need for establishing a nucleation point for a nationally concerted orchestration of R&D&I that can substantially strengthen Norway's position in this field. The four research organisations in the Centre (SINTEF, NORCE, NMBU and NTNU) possess together the major competence and infrastructure base in industrial biotechnology in Norway, and all 14 industrial partners have industrial biotechnology as a key business area with clearly defined innovation needs for maintaining a competitive edge. These innovation needs are the reason for SFI-IB, and they will be addressed in a potent matrix of a nationally concerted competence base, nationally integrated state-of the-art biotech infrastructures, and nationally coordinated training of future employees with state-of-the-art knowledge in bioprocess technology. In tune with the needs of the industry partners, SFI-IB will focus on four innovation domains (industrial enzymes, biocatalytic processes, fermentation and gas fermentation/bioprocessing), and thus become a major national instrument for creating real value from the substantial investments in focal infrastructure and competence building made in Norway over the last ten years.