PHYCONET is a BBSRC NIBB (Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy), a UK-wide, industry-focused network enabling biologists, engineers and industrial partners to consolidate their knowledge and expertise to unlock the IB potential of microalgae. Funding for the 5-year network was awarded to PHYCONET Director Saul Purton (University College London) and Co-Director Michele Stanley (Scottish Association for Marine Science).

The focus of the network is on high-value products from microalgae (including cyanobacteria) industrially cultivated in an intensive and controlled manner using PBR and fermentor technologies.

The main research objectives of the PHYCONET network are grouped into five themes:

  1. Build on current expertise and progress in algal genomics, synthetic biology and systems biology to develop key species as platform strains for the IB sector.
  2. Exploit the knowledge-base in bioinformatics, data mining, ‘omics, metabolic modeling and biological chemistry to identify new algal genes and metabolic pathways that could be exploited commercially, either through transfer to platform strains or industrial cultivation of the natural species.
  3. Develop a robust, cost-effective and scalable photobioreactor technology for the IB sector.
  4. Advance cultivation (phototrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic growth) and downstream processing technologies.
  5. Assess opportunities and barriers to commercialisation.

PHYCONET Funding opportunities

Funding is available in the form of BBSRC NIBB Business Interaction Vouchers and Proof of Concept funds. Funds will be awarded to an academic institution and the applicant must be a PHYCONET member.

BBSRC NIBB Business Interaction Vouchers

These vouchers provide £5000 (including VAT) and will fund projects no longer than 6 months in duration. Applications for BBSRC NIBB Business Interaction Vouchers are now welcome in all five research themes. Please read the Terms and Conditions before completing the application form.

Download the PHYCONET Business Interaction Vouchers Terms & Conditions (updated 14/08/14).

Download the PHYCONET Business Interaction Vouchers Terms & Conditions.

Download the PHYCONET Business Interaction Voucher Application Form.

Proof of Concept Funding

PoC funding is now available. We have £800K to fund projects within the scope of the network, and anticipate that approximately 50% of this will be released for the first call. Applications are welcome in all five research themes (subsequent calls may be targeted to specific research themes depending on the number, variety and quality of applications received in the first call).

The first call will close on 8th December at 5pm.

Please read the Terms & Conditions before completing the application form.

Download the PoC Funding Terms & Conditions.

Download the PoC Funding Application Form.

Other funding opportunities

BBSRC Japan Partnering Awards


  • To set up partnership links between UK and overseas laboratories
  • To promote the exchange of scientists, particularly early career scientists
  • To promote access to facilities

The current call has a highlight notice of Glycoscience in plant, animal and microbiology, closing date 13 November 2014 4pm. 

For further details, please visit BBSRC Japan Partnering awards.

IBLF Awards

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), on behalf of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF), has launched a brand new and unique business competition offering 9 awards worth £10k each to help early stage biotechnology SMEs and start-ups gain access to key resources.

See IBLF Awards flyer for further details.

Events and Training

Free media training for BBSRC-funded scientists

Presenting your research through the media is an effective and efficient way to communicate with large audiences. This course provides an ideal introduction to the media and how to use it to promote your science.
The course covers subjects including working with the press office, understanding how the media works and offers the chance for recorded interview practice with real BBC journalists (which are treated confidentially).
The BBSRC is holding two of these courses, both taking place in central London, on September 2 and December 9.

All PHYCONET (and other NIBB) scientists, from PhD students to PIs, are eligible to attend for free, and the BBSRC will pay for reasonable travel expenses and (if required) for accommodation for one night.

For further details, please visit free media training.

Free training in LC/LCMS, GC/GCMS and Spectroscopy

Shimadzu UK is holding a series of workshops in November 2014 and April 2015 in Milton Keynes, and October 2014 and June 2015 in Livingston. See flyers below for further details.

Workshops in Milton Keynes

Workshops in Livingston

BBSRC and NIBB events

Month Date Event Location
November 2014 6-7 IBCarb: Lectin-sugar interactions in health and disease Norwich
January 2015 14-15 C1Net: First Annual Symposium Hilton Hotel, Nottingham
February 2015 11-12 IB Showcase QEII Conference Centre, London

External events

Month Date Event Location
October 2014
1st EABA Algae Biomass Novel Foods Workshop Cascais, Portugal
November 2014 17-19 Focus on Frontiers in Industrial Biotechnology London
  17-20 3rd Asia-Oceania Algae Innovation Summit
 Daejeon, Korea
December 2014 1-3 International Algae Congress Florence, Italy
August 2015 23-28 6th European Phycological Congress London

Biohorizons survey to develop the bioeconomy

Aberystwyth University is the lead partner on a Climate-KIC pathfinder project called Biohorizons to help develop the European bioeconomy.    

The Biohorizons project involves a pan-European network collating research on regional differences in bioeconomic development.

A major part of the study is an online survey of stakeholders in the bioeconomy, asking them what interventions are required to best develop the sector.

We  would be very grateful if you could assist the project by completing the survey.


If you would like to become a member of PHYCONET, please read the Membership Terms & Conditions (updated 14/08/14) and complete the Membership Application Form.

Please note that this is a temporary webpage until our official website goes live. If you have any photographs which represent the objectives of the network (e.g. of high value products themselves, or algal strains, equipment, facilities, etc) that you are happy for us to publish on the official website, please send them to, along with details of who to credit.

Please address enquiries to:

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