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Yorkshire and the Bioeconomy

If the bioeconomy is going to achieve its potential anywhere, it will be in Yorkshire and the Humber. This region has an outstanding combination of biobased research, industry and agriculture.
A map of part of the UK in green, with Yorkshire coloured in orange. There are three images with captions: 1) a field labelled 'diverse agriculture', 2) plants labelled 'world class research' , 3) a factory labelled 'bio-based industry'.
© University of York/BioYorkshire
If the bioeconomy is going to achieve its potential anywhere, it will be in Yorkshire and the Humber. This region has an outstanding combination of biobased research, industry and agriculture.

Why is Yorkshire so Important for the Bioeconomy?

1. Research and innovation

Yorkshire and the Humber is home to internationally renowned bioeconomy research and has a track record of developing competitive bio-based products, processes and services. It has:

2. Bio-based industry

Yorkshire and the Humber is an important source of raw materials for the growing bio-based economy. Our farmers are highly innovative and the industry is supported by world-class agri-tech research. It has:

  • One of the UK’s most important agricultural regions and rears 36% of the UK’s pigs, produces 12% of England’s agricultural output and 10% of its agricultural workforce. Almost 70% of the region is farmland.
  • Two of the UK’s most respected agricultural colleges – Askham Bryan and Bishop Burton.
  • A wide range of crops, with 17% of the UK’s cereal area, all the UK’s major arable crops are produced as well as specialist oilseed and fibre crops and one of the UK’s largest areas of energy crops.
  • Diverse agricultural businesses with over 11,000 farming, forestry and fishery enterprises.
  • Regional bases for a number of large companies including Cargill, Syngenta, Frontier, AB Agri and Limagrain.

3. BioVale

BioVale is an innovation cluster which promotes and develops the circular bioeconomy across Yorkshire and the Humber. BioVale aims to establish the region as a world-leading centre for bioeconomy innovation with a focus on renewable raw materials and low-carbon agriculture. You can hear Dr Elspeth Bartlet from BioVale in step 1.8 talking about what an innovation cluster is and why it is needed.

4. BioYorkshire

Building on these assets, BioYorkshire is a 10 year programme which aims to develop world-class infrastructure for the bioeconomy across York and North Yorkshire and establish this region as the UK global centre of excellence for innovative bio-based solutions. In terms of numbers, BioYorkshire aims to create over 4,000 new jobs across Yorkshire and UK, add up to £4bn GVA to the UK economy by 2030, attract an additional £1.3bn capital investment to the UK, enable net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and reduce waste to landfill by 1.2 million tonnes per year. BioYorkshire will contribute to building the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by investing in the high-skilled and high growth sector that is the bioeconomy.

BioYorkshire will comprise three integrated elements that support innovation from idea to commercial reality:

Innovation Central: a suite of integrated facilities and services for strategic research, technology translation and skills delivered by the University of York, Fera and Askham Bryan College District Incubator Hubs: Innovation incubators that enable access to Innovation Central across the broad rural, coastal, industrial and urban expanse of York and North Yorkshire. Accelerator: connectivity between industries, academia, district hubs, innovation central; match funding to de-risk investment in innovation; global engagement and international profile; management and governance for the programme.

While the main focus of this article is on the bioeconomy in Yorkshire and the Humber, the bioeconomy is a key part of of the worldwide transition away from fossil fuels to renewable resources and an important part of the circular economy – an economic system tackling global challenges.

© University of York/BioYorkshire
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