SynbiTECH 2020: SynBio and Sustainability

  • Posted on 29 January, 2020

Professor Richard Kitney, Co-founder, SynbiTECH, provides an overview of this year's SynbiTECH.

The overarching theme of SynbiTECH 2020 is sustainability. There has been a lot of media coverage relating to sustainability over the last few months - culminating in Greta Thunberg speaking at Davos last week. Whilst I support the sentiments being expressed regarding climate change and sustainability, what is almost always talked about are the problems rather than the solutions. One of the things I find truly exciting about the field of Synthetic Biology/Engineering Biology is that we are working on solutions that could have significant positive impact on the environment. The field is developing platform technology that can be used across a wide range of applications from healthcare to bioremediation.

SynbiTECH2020 has been organised by SynbiCITE, the U.K.’s National Industrial Translation Centre for Synthetic Biology ( ) to show how a range of UK and international companies and researchers are making inroads into problems associated with sustainability. SynbiTECH2020 comprises sessions that address: Therapeutics and Natural Products; Biomaterials; Biomanufacturing, Waste and Bioremediation; Consumer Biotechnology, and Food and the Environment. But, amongst other topics, the conference also addresses International Strategy, Biosecurity, and Synthetic Biology for a Sustainable World.

What this is about is moving from a world where products are produced using an unsustainable carbon economy based on petrochemicals and the use of synthetic chemistry as the basis of an industrial model. There is an alternative industrial model that is based on the use of biomass as its feedstock and applying Synthetic Biology/Engineering Biology to produce products in a low carbon economy. The feedstocks of the new industrial model can include lignocellulosic waste -and even CO2.

We believe that SynbiTECH2020 will be a truly ground-breaking conference. Come and join us at the QEII Conference Centre in Central London (UK) on the 26th and 27th of July and contribute to the discussion.