Biosciences innovation offers significant opportunities for UK businesses in the areas of characterisation and discovery tools, production and processing, and bioinformatics. 

Biosciences businesses face a number of challenges to innovation but collaboration across disciplines will advance the exploitation of biosciences developments.

We will invest in biosciences innovation through technology-inspired competitions as well as through sector-specific challenge programmes where there are specific biosciences-related needs. These sectors will include food, agriculture and health.


The transformative potential of technology advancement in biosciences means that businesses in the industry face particular challenges around long and expensive development pathways, regulation and, in the case of genetic technologies, ethical considerations.  In addition, collaboration with universities and the translation and licensing of university technologies is viewed by some businesses as challenging and expensive process, with practices varying from institution to institution.

In some instances, the technological advances in this area are occurring so rapidly, as observed in high-throughput sequencing and synthetic biology, that the challenge for industry becomes one of capitalising on the opportunities provided by these technological advances rather than developing new underpinning technology itself. 


There are particular opportunities for UK companies in three priority areas: characterisation and discovery tools, production and processing and bioinformatics.  We recognise that the UK is home to a number of world-class universities and businesses with expertise in key areas and that breaking down barriers to enable cross-disciplinary working will accelerate advancements. Coordination of a number of fields, in particular biosciences with ICT, engineering and design is key to capturing this economic potential, and the Technology Strategy Board is at the forefront of enabling and supporting coordination and collaboration across the research base and UK businesses in this key innovation area. 

 Our priorities

 Characterisation and discovery tools:

  • Commercial application of sequencing technologies focusing on genomics
  • Phenotyping technologies
  • Integration of ‘omics technologies
  • Development of biological imaging systems, biosensors, probes/markers, diagnostic platforms

 Production and processing

  •  Metabolic engineering
  • Novel manufacturing processes for producing biological products and novel biological production systems
  • Formulation and delivery approaches for biological products including biopharmaceuticals and functional foods


  •  Approaches to organising, filtering and interpreting biological data including biological system modelling, data visualisation, and user centred design

For further information please visit:

Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network
Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network
Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network
Healthtech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network
Algal biotechnology Special Interest Group
Forensic Science Special Interest Group
Formulation Special Interest Group
Industrial Biotechnology Special Interest Group

Last updated on Monday 19 November 2012 at 17:01

Copyright © 2013