Impact through the Biosciences: Plant Synthetic Biology

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Published on: February 28, 2013

The phrase ‘synthetic biology’ doesn’t naturally pair with ‘plant science’ for most plant researchers. Yet at the Biosciences KTN Annual Conference 2012, Impact through the Biosciencesof five talks on synthetic biology, one was an introduction, one was about photosynthesis, and one was about synthesising high value plant compounds in microalgae. You can view all the videos from the meeting here if you are a member of connect_, which is free to join.

Expertise in molecular pathways, plant hormones, bioinformatics, and modelling, could all be applied to synthetic biology. It’s true that currently most synthetic biology, even the plant synthetic biology in the two videos highlighted above, is done in microorganisms or inorganic systems, but plants are the obvious choice for a multi-cellular synthetic biology system.

If you want to find out more about the synthetic biology approach, current plant synthetic biology projects, and the range of synthetic biology tools and resources available, come to our meeting An Introduction to Opportunities in Plant Synthetic Biology. It is an introduction to synthetic biology to plant scientists, and we hope it will encourage the UK plant science community to benefit from the emphasis the governmentBBSRCEPSRC and TSB are placing on synthetic biology.

Video credit: Biosciences KTN, via their YouTube channel. 

Spring funding round-up

Categories: funding, UKPSF
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Published on: February 28, 2013

Spring 2013 is full of deadlines for various plant science funding opportunities. I compiled a list of calls that close in the next few months here. For up-to-date funding news, check the UKPSF website.

Research funding, partnering awards, and fellowships

BBSRC Strategic Longer and Larger Grants: Outline proposal deadline 18 April. Selected applicants will then be invited to submit full applications by January 2014. These sLoLa grants are worth over £2M and can last up to 5 years. The proposed projects must be in line with BBSRC Strategic Priorities, and in this round proposals are particularly encouraged in ‘innovative routes to fine and platform chemicals’ and ‘mechanisms for enhancing cellular productivity.’

BBSRC Responsive Mode: Deadline 24 April. Proposals are accepted to the four research committees for projects in line with BBSRC Strategic Priorities. Remember that plant scientists may apply to Committees B and D. For non-plant specific generic genes, development, technology, engineering, and maths approaches to biology, consider Committee C.

BBSRC Synthetic Biology China Partnering Award: Deadline 30 April. Up to 5 awards will be co-funded with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The funds are to form collaborations between UK- and China- based groups who are current BBSRC or CAS grant holders. The four key areas highlighted in the call are fairly well suited to plant science, so if you have Chinese contacts and are open to synthetic biology, do give this partnering award consideration.

BBSRC Enterprise fellowships: Deadline 17 May. This enterprise-driven award provides a salary for a year spent on developing a business plan and seeking investment, access to mentors and business experts, and business training. Academics, research staff, or post-grads may apply. (more…)

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