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Engineering biology: call for evidence

This call for evidence asks for your experiences and insights into the strengths, weakness, and opportunities for the UK’s engineering biology ecosystem. Government will use the outcomes of this call for evidence to inform policy that will support the engineering biology ecosystem from foundational research through to consumer facing companies.


2. Public interest, and uptake of engineering biology products

2.1. How do you approach building the public’s interest and uptake of innovations and products derived from engineering biology? What are the factors to consider when going about this?

2.2. Where and how are government, industry and academia each best placed to build public interest, and more broadly uptake of products? How can we involve the public in this conversation? What can we learn from other countries?

3. UK value chain for engineering biology

3.1. With regards to the whole sector, what do you think the UK’s key strengths are in engineering biology?

3.2. With regards to the whole sector, what do you think are the UK’s key challenges over the next five years?

3.3. Detail your own personal experiences with the engineering biology value chain outlined below. Where do you source these inputs to your work? What difficulties have you experienced? And what do you think needs to change? Please mention where appropriate any scientific and technical advances required. (Fill in any which apply, 500 word limit)

4. Knowledge pipeline

4.1. Within your domain, what are the key scientific and technical opportunities over the next five years for advancing the development of engineering biology, including its foundational technologies?

4.2. Within your domain, what are the key scientific and technical challenges over the next five years for advancing the development of engineering biology, including its foundational technologies?

4.3. What works well within the current landscape of UK research institutions? What is missing? Are there examples from other countries we can learn from?

5. Talent and skills

5.1. In order for your domain or the domains of those you represent to develop, scale and commercialise products derived from engineering biology, what are the key technical and non-technical skills?

5.2. Please indicate what is working, not working or not to a sufficient scale.

Scale 1= working well, 3= working but not to a sufficient scale/remit, 5 = not working or not happening, 6 = not relevant to me

  • Support for early-career researchers
  • Support for mid-career researchers
  • Support for late-career researchers
  • Programmes to support technicians careers
  • Programmes to support regulatory skills
  • Programmes to support entrepreneurship

Please explain your answer

6. Business ecosystem

6.1. How do we create mechanisms which bring engineering biology small and medium enterprises (SMEs) together with their customers (including larger firms) in a way that promotes a clear understanding of each others’ requirements? What are the barriers to this in practice? What can we learn from other countries?

6.2. How is your firm considering overseas production of your products, or exporting to international markets? What are, or would be, the implications of these decisions for your UK-based activities?

6.3. At what stage and investment size have your company (or those you represent) found it challenging to raise finance? What were the barriers you faced at each of these stages? How did you solve these barriers?

Difficulty level 1= secured investment with relative ease, 3 = challenging but achievable, 5 = very challenging, 6 = don’t know or not relevant

  • < £500K
  • £500k - £1 million
  • £1 million - £2 million
  • £2 million - £20 million
  • £20 million +

Please explain your responses

7. Regulatory environment

7.1. Do you expect, or have you encountered, any specific regulatory issues when developing, scaling and commercialising products using engineering biology?

Please provide as much technical background as needed to fully explain the issue, and an outline of how you navigated the regulatory system.

7.2. How should government look to influence the development of international regulations, standards, and norms to help grow the UK sector and protect the UK’s capabilities?

8. Future expectations

8.1. For your own domain or the domains you represent, please select the top three areas from the UK’s Science and Technology Framework you would want government to prioritise in any future plans for engineering biology. These are outlined further in The UK Science and Technology Framework linked here.

The IET Board of Trustees has decided to respond to the following consultation and will accept responses from IET members including Member, Fellow, Honorary Fellow, Student, and Associate. Please provide your membership number with your consultation response.

The IET is seeking to respond to the consultation and would welcome your views and comments on the questions posed.

This consultation is closed for comment.