Big boost for high-value chemicals production

Two SynthSys researchers have won a total of ~£500k from the UK Government to use cutting edge biotechnology to produce high-value chemicals.

Professor Louise Horsfall and Professor Gary Loake will use ingenious engineered biology methods to bring chemical products to market, using sustainable manufacturing practices. 

Academic institutions have teamed with industrial partners in this programme, to propose new ways of producing products for the vital UK chemical industry. 

Applying biological processes to the manufacturing of chemicals could result in lower carbon emissions, energy costs and also meet consumer demand for more sustainable products with improed properties. 

Greener chemicals

Prof Louise Horsfall’s research group have been awarded almost £250,000 to develop a novel biological platform for more sustainable production of chemicals, materials and fuels from renewable resources. 

This work will lead to the development of unique new products, derived from wastes and by-products, and demonstration of their cost-efficient and energy-saving production using novel biomanufacturing technologies.

Her group will work with industrial partners Unilever, Ingenza and Diageo who will provide additional funds and support for the project.

Harnessing plant power 

Prof Gary Loake’s research group have been awarded over £220,000 to develop an improved biomanufacturing platform for a key pharmaceutical.

The project will establish a sustainable, biomanufacturing platform for a World Health Organisation (WHO) essential medicine that is currently produced largely by unsustainable manufacturing practices, which additionally generate toxic by-products.

His group will work with industrial partner Green Bioactives who will provide additional funds and support for the project.


The UK Government is investing heavily in research and development at Scottish universities to level up all parts of the country through science and innovation. Academics at the University of Edinburgh are looking for new ways of producing products for the UK’s chemical industry, finding potential solutions for it to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This research is vital, reflecting the government’s UK-wide commitment to tackling climate change. We must keep striving to save our environment and I urge others to join us in this year of climate action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

Iain StewartUK Government Minister for Scotland 


Related Links

Louise Horsfall’s research group

Gary Loake’s research group