Biological Sciences

Biotechnology for sustainable health and wealth

Biotechnology is defined broadly as the process of using living systems (e.g. yeast, plants, bacteria, human stem cells) to develop or make new products.

It can help address the climate emergency by enabling us to transition from our dependence on petrochemicals to one based on bio-based feedstocks and processes thereby developing more sustainable ways to feed, fuel and heal the planet.  

Advances in research and technology are increasing the speed, scale and precision in which we can robustly and predictably modify biological systems for new and useful applications.

Using engineering principles to redesign living systems, we can achieve transformative improvements across many industries. For example, we can re-programme stem cells for use as medicines or turn living cells, such as yeast and bacteria, into ‘biofactories’ to produce ‘greener’ chemicals, medicines and biofuels.  

Edinburgh’s capability  

The University of Edinburgh applies cross-disciplinary expertise to create a more sustainable world for future generations. We work collaboratively across disciplines – from molecular biology through to social sciences – to carry out research to address global challenges.

We then work closely with industry to ensure these reach the market and benefit the health and wealth of the UK and beyond. Alongside our research, we also foster a supportive and challenging environment in which to train the next generation of researchers from undergraduate to graduate courses.

Taught Masters Programmes

Areas of strength


The University has a wealth of high-tech facilities to support its research, which can be accessed by academic and commercial users.  For example:  

  • Edinburgh Genome Foundry – for design and build of DNA constructs for cell transformation  
  • Edinomics – for cell/strain analysis using proteomics and metabolomics 
  • Edinburgh Protein Production Facility – for protein production and analysis 
  • Electron Microscopy – for high-resolution structural analysis of molecules 

Biological Sciences Facilities