The Nottingham DTP is led by the University of Nottingham in partnership with Nottingham Trent University and National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC).
Alongside associate partners NIAB-EMR, Research Complex at Harwell, Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Rothamsted Research, CPI and Biocity. Find out more about what each partner offers below.
Voted University of the Year 2019 by The Guardian, NTU is leading the way in 'access and success for all students' as well as its research in science, technology and agriculture.
NTU’s research was ranked joint 34th for overall GPA in REF 2014 (81% of outputs, 86% of research and 100% of impact as world-leading or internationally excellent). Furthermore, NTU has continued to enhance its investment in research infrastructure, state of the art facilities and world leading science.
Relationships between the University of Nottingham and NTU have been growing, with increasing research collaborations, jointly supervised students and new innovations. NTU offers opportunities for student training expertise focusing on fundamental and applied molecular cell biology and sustainable agriculture.
Sustainable Agriculture Platform (Brackenhurst Campus)
This offers particular expertise in innovative urban agriculture and vertical farming, including resource use efficiency (LED lighting, water and nutrients), productivity, sustainability and scalability.
The Poultry Research Nutrition Unit provides a platform for industry technologists and fundamental scientists to explore the interplay between nutrition, welfare and sustainability of poultry production through strong links to the UK animal feed industry.
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Facility (Clifton Campus)
This supports biomedical research activities in immunology, cell-based therapy, bio-materials science, neuroscience, pharmacology and toxicology.
There has been significant investment in this area, including:
- £13m Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Centre (ISTeC)
- £24M Engineering Building, including biomedical engineering
- soon to start £23M Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF)
Research activities particular relevance are:
- Cancer biology, immunology and therapeutics: fundamental and translational research in cancer and novel therapeutic approaches - linked with John van Geest Cancer Centre
- AMR, omics and microbiota: pathogenesis, evolution of virulence and approaches to anti-microbial therapy and microbiota in health and disease
- Diabetes, chronic diseases and ageing: focused on the fundamental pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, inflammatory based chronic diseases and neurological diseases of ageing
- Health of the environment: ecological damage and impact on human and species health
- Bioinformatics and biomathematics: post-genomic statistical and computational approaches
NBIC is a £26m Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) funded by BBSRC/IUK, Hartree, HEI partners and industry. It is led by the universities of Southampton, Nottingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh.
It aims to link world-class research in the control and exploitation of biofilms with Industry, simplifying knowledge transfer and catalysing collaboration. Since its creation in 2017, a further 41 UK universities and research centres have joined the consortium, together with an industry base of >150 companies covering a wide range of sectors.
NBIC has links with:
- Centre of Biofilm Engineering, USA
- Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering
- Costerton Biofilm Centre, Denmark
- University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
The centre is facilitating exchange of students and synergistic collaborations in the biofilm arena. As a full partner in our DTP3, NBIC will support the exchange and training of PhDs, early career researchers, knowledge and expertise between academic and industry sectors.
Located at the University of Nottingham in the £100m Biodiscovery Institute, NBIC provides valuable support through joint supervision and training. The Biodiscovery Institute promotes multidisciplinary research in microbiology, structural and synthetic biology, drug discovery, regenerative medicine, cancer biology and tissue engineering.
UoN and RRes have a long history of research and teaching collaborations, including both previous BBSRC DTPs and the Future Food Beacon International DTP. RRes is a world-leading, non-profit research centre focusing on strategic agricultural science for global benefit.
RRes conducts interdisciplinary research focussed on crop improvement and long-term field trials, using its farm and field research facilities and state-of-the-art laboratories.
Rothamsted can offer skills and facilities in:
- transdisciplinary science and systems approaches to increase crop and system productivity, efficiency, resilience, and sustainability of agricultural systems and transform feed efficiency - integrated crop protection (weeds, insects, diseases), including monitoring and forecasting (National Capability, farmer networks) and specialised facilities (such as insectary)
- Soil health and microbiome management to increase resilience to crop stress and disease
- Rapid improvement and design of novel crop traits through predictive omics, gene editing wheat and other cereals, oilseed crops, willows, crop transformation, GM trialling and field phenotyping
- Field-deployable sensors, AI systems models for monitoring/managing agri-food systems
Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) (associate partner)
RCaH provides significant added value by leveraging use of the UK’s large scale facilities, providing students with opportunities in the physical and life sciences by co-location, collaboration and cross-disciplinary working.
Areas aligned to the DTP encompass
- structural biology, protein crystallography and electron microscopy
- technology development, leading to new analytical methods and process simulators
- time-resolved techniques (DLS and CLF)
In structural biology, close links between DLS and the RCaH are developing research in biofilms via the XCHEM facility. Protein Production Facility UK at RCaH has supported groups at Nottingham and across the UK with cutting-edge molecular biology and protein technologies, boosting productivity and impact, which will offer excellent training opportunities to DTP3 students.
RCaH with DLS have contributed to develop beamlines in life (VMXi) and physical science (X-ray tomography). There is an active programme within CLF, DLS and the RCaH to facilitate correlative microscopy, particularly through new methods for super-resolution fluorescence microscopy at cryogenic temperatures. Opportunities in imaging, structural and synthetic biology will be important to the DTP3 cohort, for example using neutrons to investigate potential bacterial therapeutic targets. Engagement opportunities with RCaH include either short-term training or longer duration jointly supervised projects.
Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national 3rd generation synchrotron situated at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. Diamond is a not-for-profit limited company funded as a joint venture by the UK Government as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and in partnership with Wellcome.
Diamond will support DTP3 by hosting and potentially co-funding studentships, and providing interdisciplinary training opportunities through access to their unique facilities. Areas of mutual development for the DTP are in biological cryo-imaging, structural and cell biology, and drug discovery. A major area of current collaboration with UoN is in AI and machine learning, with jointly supervised PhD projects with physics, mathematics and computer science in image analysis.
ISIS employs neutron techniques to provide unique quantitative information on the structure and dynamics of complex bio-relevant systems over a large range of time and length scales.
Areas relevant to the DTP3 include:
- biomembrane studies in AMR
- work on plant seed defence proteins
- most recently, imaging techniques using neutron tomography instrument with applications in crop research, food structure and biomolecular conversion
ISIS will contribute to the DTP3 via short term placements, training courses and strategic guidance.
NIAB-EMR offers expertise and facilities in agriculture and food security of horticulture crops, offering complementary opportunities to the University of Nottingham, NTU and RRes.
Focusing on the genetics, genomics and breeding, ecology of pests and pathogens of perennial horticultural and clonal crops, and the environmental and biotic factors which affect them; the complete production-to supply chain and associated challenges of climate change, food chain quality and resource use efficiency. They will host/co-supervise and train students in these areas.
CPI contributes expertise in linking from innovation to commercialisation in biotechnology, with strengths in:
- systems and synthetic biology
- engineering by design
- cells as factories
CPI’s technical capabilities include technology landscaping and due diligence, host strain development, optimisation at various scales, techno economic assessment, process modelling and pilot demonstration assessment. They are committed to support the DTP through training, technical input, hosting and co-supervision.
They will provide oversight and guidance based on their extensive knowledge of industry needs and priorities in industrial biotechnology. They will contribute to student training, such as by CPI’s Innovation Integrator model, which identifies innovation gaps in company products, processes or technologies and determines next steps to progress from innovation to commercialisation.
SME BioIndustry Partners - BioCity; Albumedix (associate partner)
BioCity is the largest science incubator in the UK, providing opportunities for engagement with SMEs based in BioCity, offering PIPS and CASE opportunities for our DTP students. Albumedix is a Nottingham-based SME biotech company focused on enabling the creation of superior biopharmaceuticals utilising albumin-based drug enhancing technologies. They are a world-leader in recombinant human albumin products and technologies.