Innovation

UK and Colombia announce £20m bioeconomy research programme

The UK and Colombia this week (2 November) agreed a new £20-million bioeconomy research programme to aid post-conflict developmental efforts in some of the worst affected regions in Colombia.

UK and Colombia announce £20m bioeconomy research programme
Nick Hurd and Yaneth Giha, Director of the Colombian national research agency Colciencias
The agreement, signed by Minister for Industry and Climate Change Nick Hurd and Yaneth Giha, Director of the Colombian national research agency Colciencias, will fund research into how Colombia’s vast biological resources can be used to sustainably develop new drugs, medicines, biofertilisers that can increase crop yields, and pollution-tackling products.

This will be achieved through work on three principal elements of the programme: ‘bio-expeditions’ to build Colombia’s biodiversity inventory and biological collections; bio-research and development to connect scientific research to private funding; and bio-products developed using market intelligence and technology.

The Colombia Bio programme will be supported by £8 million a year from the Newton Fund, which builds science and innovation partnerships with 16 partner countries around the world, and is intended to strengthen bilateral cooperation on the bioeconomy through tackling Colombia’s post-conflict development issues.

‘Unlocking the full potential of Colombia’s biodiverse geography’

Upon signing the agreement, Nick Hurd said: “The UK is Colombia’s number one partner for research collaboration and a vital ally in the fight to halt and reverse deforestation.

“The £20-million Colombia Bio programme is a significant moment in our relationship giving our world leading researchers and scientists the opportunity to work closely with Colombian counterparts tackling global challenges, addressing developmental issues and unlocking the full potential of Colombia’s biodiverse geography.”

Yaneth Giha added: “The United Kingdom is a key strategic partner of Colombia in our quest for peace through research and innovation on biodiversity. Therefore both nations must keep working together for a sustainable and long-lasting scientific cooperation.”

An in-depth look at the state of the bioplastics industry and what needs to be done to encourage its development in the UK and abroad can be found in the next issue of Resource, out later this month.

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