Synthetic biology, in its broadest sense, is opening up a suite of possibilities for the design and redesign of biology to create new products and processes - advances in research and new toolkits could see the application of synthetic biology across a variety of industry sectors from pharmaceuticals to energy.
The UK is well positioned to play a leading role in the development of synthetic biology. It has world-leading research capabilities, supported by investment from the research councils in the creation of new research and innovation centres, and a small but growing SME community establishing connections with US leaders. At the same time, multinational corporations are becoming increasingly involved in the field, funding research within their own companies and in collaboration with academia and SMEs. However, challenges to the wider uptake of synthetic biology by industry remain. These include the clear need to demonstrate profitability in order to displace existing processes, concerns over public perception and difficulties around the language and definitions used in the field. Critically, these barriers risk meaning that the full potential of synthetic biology is not well understood by industry.
This conference will provide an honest and open appraisal of how industry is using synthetic biology, acknowledging successes and strengths but also looking at where there are weaknesses or potential risks. Speakers will include senior scientists from big industry and academia who will describe what challenges they believe synthetic biology can solve and what unmet needs it can address.
This conference is part of the Royal Society's Transforming our future conference series, which looks at new and emerging technologies, is intended for representatives from industry, academia and government who have an interest in synthetic biology. Please contact the Royal Society Science and Industry Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.