Step forward in bid to make Yorkshire country’s first carbon negative region with new consortium

16th September 2020

Step forward in bid to make Yorkshire country's first carbon negative region with new consortium

The future of Yorkshire as a hub for innovation green jobs has taken another step towards becoming a reality today with the launch of an ambitious new strategy.

The 10-year plan to overhaul the region’s focus has been launched by the University of York and other partners, with the backing of a cross-party group of MPs.


Some 4,000 skilled jobs could be created in Yorkshire to help rebuild the economy after coronavirus, the consortium, called BioYorkshire says.

But as well as benefitting the region and creating the nation’s first carbon negative area, some of the world’s most challenging economic and environmental issues could also be solved.

The University of York’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery said: “The North of England already has the facilities, specialised research and innovation capability, and industrial capacity to deliver a world-leading bioeconomy based on crop science, agri-tech and industrial biotechnology.

“BioYorkshire’s unique partnership will co-ordinate and further develop these capabilities and resources to create a major economic opportunity for the region. We can deliver fundamental changes to the way we live, not only here in the north of England but globally.”

MPs from the region including Julian Sturdy (York Outer), Rachael Maskell (York Central), Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) and Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) have already offered their support to the project, which draws on work already underway at BioYork, a University-led initiative.

Professor Ian Graham, BioYork’s Director said: “Our research programmes will offer truly cross disciplinary, innovative approaches to tackle industrial and societal challenges: we have an outstanding track record of research to benefit society.”

The ultimate ambition of BioYorkshire is to cement the region as the UK’s centre of innovation and enterprise in the bioeconomy.

Yorkshire is well placed to lead the way in bio innovation, hosting national headquarters of many of the UK’s largest food and drinks processing businesses, which are key to the production of valuable organic waste-feedstocks. The region is also steeped in farming traditions and expertise with agricultural businesses accounting for more than 60 per cent of land use.

Dr Tim Whitaker, CEO and Principal of Askham Bryan College said: “The newly emerging bioeconomy needs a tailored programme of education and training to ensure the availability of technical and professional skills development to guarantee a comprehensive understanding of high welfare livestock production, crop science and agronomy. BioYorkshire will address the skills gap to enable rapid regional economic growth.”

BioYorkshire plans include district hubs for enterprise development, bio-based research institutes and programmes of training and skills co-developed with industry.

Crucial demonstrator facilities for testing and scaling up of innovative technologies would also be built – the lack of which has forced UK bio-entrepreneurs to test projects further afield.

Dr Andrew Swift, CEO of Fera Science, said: “BioYorkshire is designed to maximise the opportunities for interaction between researchers and businesses. Exciting new initiatives will engage industrial expertise to deliver a step change in bioeconomy research.”

For the full story please visit the Yorkshire Post website.