Over the last few years the SYNBIOCHEM Centre has welcomed UK government officials to the MIB. A recent example was during the Launch of the UK Northern Industrial Strategy (2019). Through membership of the SynBio Leadership Council sub-committees and interactions with the other SBRC’s and the BIA Engineering Biology Subcommittee we are actively involved in engaging with the National SynBio landscape and continue to work with BEIS and UKRI on forward strategies.
SYNBIOCHEM has also hosted international leaders including the Chinese minister of Science in July 2019 and members of the Canadian government in March 2020. Centre academics also participated in United Nations convention on Biological diversity (Mexico) and Biosecurity workshops (Geneva) and the NTI Biosecurity, Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative (2019).
The Centre contributed to major SynBio working groups including early work by Breitling and Takano on EU and US groups that provided 3 EU opinions on SynBio – the European Commission (EC) Scientific Committees issued a draft opinion on whether existing risk assessment methods are adequate for Synthetic Biology. These may have a substantial impact o future EU and global SynBio policy – A paper “Judging SynBio risks” was published in Science (Brietling et al, Science, 347, 107).
The MIB was recognised by the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2019 that celebrates its work in developing disruptive bio-based technologies in which SYNBIOCHEM has played a major part.
Finally the Centre continues to contribute to national/international roadmaps to ensure input into a cohesive national science strategy. Examples include roadmaps for synthetic biology (UK Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology 2016 – Bio‐design for the bio‐economy), the engineering of biology towards sustainable production process, and delivery of a bio-based economy for clean growth.