Hosting a major industrial biotechnology conference has helped Glasgow’s future bio entrepreneurs launch their ideas and encouraged more young people into the growing sector, according to the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB).

After interviewing conference clients and ambassadors and carrying out evaluation research the GCMB has released the long-term benefits of hosting the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bio-economy (EFIB) Conference in October 2016.

The conference, which took place at Scottish Event Campus (SEC), attracted 600 industry professionals committed to a shift towards renewable, biologically-based manufacturing. The bid was supported by local organisation the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and highlighted Scotland’s position as a prominent hub for the industrial biotechnology sector in the UK and Europe.

The Industrial Biotechnology (IB) market is growing rapidly, with the level of IB development and investment particularly high in Scotland thanks to a strong heritage in engineering, and a wealth of natural resources that are ideal for IB activities. With a 10 per cent yearly growth rate, Scotland is already more than mid-way through to its 2020 industry target of £400 million, with the value of IB to the economy reaching £230 million in 2014.

Hosting the conference had a direct economic impact of £730,000 to the local economy. However, the GCMB research also found that EFIB’s Dragon’s Den-style event Pitchfest, which encouraged people to pitch their new bio ideas to a panel of experts, alongside its Bio-economy Apartment, an exhibition set-up that encouraged young people to consider a biotechnology career, were among the long-term impacts.

GCMB also counted IBiolC’s involvement in Explorathon, a Scotland-wide opportunity for university researchers to showcase their research in one evening, as another positive.

Roger Kilburn, CEO of IBioIC, said: “Scotland’s industrial biotechnology sector, although relatively small at present, is one with great ambition and growth targets in the coming years. We were delighted to host EFIB 2016 in Glasgow and to use it as a platform to showcase our industry’s collective ambition. We did this during the meeting and through the curation of unique events and activities, supported by Glasgow Convention Bureau, which extended our reach ‘beyond the conference’ to capture the attention of Europe’s industry leaders. These worked exceptionally well and have put Scotland on the IB map as a place for inward investment – we’re delighted to be following up on a number of leads as a result.”

Indeed, IBioIC’s 3rd annual conference in Glasgow in January gathered more than 400 participants, showing the region’s strong and supportive environment for the sector, according to Kilburn.

That event saw the announcement by IBioIC of over £700,000 of investment in Scottish microenterprises. Five collaborative research projects, aiming to enable sustainable solutions through, amongst others, the development of a sustainable protein or maximising the value of seaweed, will receive funding.

The GCMB research formed part of its legacy campaign ‘Tomorrow’s bureau, today’, a project which aims to investigate the wider benefits of hosting an association conference to a city’s knowledge economy, beyond direct economic impact.

(via meetpie, The Biojournal, EFIB News)


Featured image: Glasgow’s future industrial biotechnologists turned out for the Explorathon event