Synthetic biology, in its broadest sense, is opening up a suite of possibilities for the design and redesign of biology to create new products and processes - advances in research and new toolkits could see the application of synthetic biology across a variety of industry sectors from pharmaceuticals to energy.
The UK is well positioned to play a leading role in the development of synthetic biology. It has world-leading research capabilities, supported by investment from the research councils in the creation of new research and innovation centres, and a small but growing SME community establishing connections with US leaders. At the same time, multinational corporations are becoming increasingly involved in the field, funding research within their own companies and in collaboration with academia and SMEs. However, challenges to the wider uptake of synthetic biology by industry remain. These include the clear need to demonstrate profitability in order to displace existing processes, concerns over public perception and difficulties around the language and definitions used in the field. Critically, these barriers risk meaning that the full potential of synthetic biology is not well understood by industry.
This conference will provide an honest and open appraisal of how industry is using synthetic biology, acknowledging successes and strengths but also looking at where there are weaknesses or potential risks. Speakers will include senior scientists from big industry and academia who will describe what challenges they believe synthetic biology can solve and what unmet needs it can address.
Attending this event
This event is intended for representatives from industry, academia and government who have an interest in synthetic biology. A programme will be published soon.
About the conference series
The conference is part of the Society's Transforming our future conference series, launched to address the major scientific and technical challenges of the next decade and beyond. Each conference will focus on one topic and will seek to cover key issues, including:
- The current state of the key industry sectors involved
- The position of the UK and how it can benefit from the technology
- The future direction of research
- The challenges faced in turning research into commercial success
- The skills base needed to deliver major scientific advances
- The wider social and economic impacts
The conferences are a key component of the Society’s five-year Science, Industry and Translation initiative which demonstrates our commitment to reintegrate science and industry at the Society and to promote science and its value by connecting academia, industry and government.