Synthetic Biology Research Centre creates new jobs

30 Oct 2014 11:08:50.387

The University of Nottingham is looking for 23 talented scientists to work at its new Synthetic Biology Research Centre.

The University is looking for talented individuals to work on its research programmes at the new centre, to work alongside scientists from the University’s Schools of Life Sciences, Chemistry, Maths, Computer Science, Pharmacy, Biosciences, Social Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering.

The new centre is looking to attract the best research talent to the University and there are currently several opportunities for technicians and for a range of post-doctoral researchers.

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The centre has been made possible thanks to £14.3m worth of funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is one of three dedicated new centres in the UK, along with the University of Bristol and a joint venture between the University of Cambridge and The John Innes Centre.

Professor Saul Tendler PVC-Research at Nottingham noted that “Synthetic biology together with the broader area of industrial biotechnology are research fields in which Nottingham has strong track records, not just in carrying out basic research but also applying new knowledge to solve real-world problems. This new award further strengthens the University’s position as a beacon for biotechnology”. 

As the world’s population grows ever bigger, there is an increasing burden on petroleum and natural gas, which are needed for fuel, plastics and medicines. Led by the University’s Professor Nigel Minton, the SBRC hopes to address the increasing gap between supply and demand by innovating and solving serious scientific challenges using a synthetic biology approach.

Sustainable production

Professor Minton, Professor of Applied Molecular Microbiology, said: “The world needs to end its reliance on fossil fuels to provide the chemical feed stocks that we need for our everyday lives. This new centre gives us the opportunity to create sustainable routes for the production of medicines, plastics and fuels, which will have benefits for the environment and society, as well as economically and politically.”

Synthetic biology is an emerging scientific discipline, fusing core areas of science – principally biology, engineering, chemistry and mathematics – and information communication technology (ICT), to create new products and processes. This is achieved by understanding how bacteria grow and synthesise chemicals and subsequently tuning their metabolism so that they become, in effect, mini-factories that accumulate products which we all need.

In order to fully exploit the industrial applications of synthetic biology, the SBRC is collaborating with a number of partners, including Lanzatech – a world leader in gas fermentation

Mr Ian Shott chair of the SBRC Strategic Advisory Board said: “Modern synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology give the world an opportunity to seize waste as a resource and convert it cost effectively to valuable fuels and chemical building blocks for onward conversion to a huge and diverse range of high value materials. This grant gives Nottingham University a distinctive research centre capable of achieving a game changing impact.”

“By working closely with industry, we will get a much clearer understanding of industry’s needs and we will dynamically adjust our research programmes, so that we are not only solving challenging academic problems but we are tailoring the results to be of benefit to the real world,” added Professor Minton.

 For more information and how to apply please visit the website


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and one of the world’s greenest universities

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Louise Dynes, Outreach & Communications Officer, Synthetic Biology Research Centre at The University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 748 4095,

Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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