From Bicycles to Biotech: IBioIC’s 9th Annual Conference

IBioIC’s Annual Conference, now in its 9th year, has become a key date in the industrial biotechnology calendar. NCIMB’s CEO Dr Edward Green reflects on this year’s event, and the unique potential that NCIMB has in supporting the sector.

I attended the IBioIC annual conference this week, my first as CEO of NCIMB Ltd. Nearly 400 delegates participated in lively discussion relating to “Resilience and the Bioeconomy”, and the opening plenary focussed on how industrial biotechnology can make a real difference to societal grand challenges including climate change and net zero, with speakers emphasising how to embed bio-based solutions across multiple platforms, thereby reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

Swapping lycra for lucre (and an ambition to change the world), endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont elegantly translated his travails on a bike – specifically his efforts to cycle round the world in under 80 days – to the journey experienced by many entrepreneurs and SME’s as they try to establish and scale their businesses. The need to have a plan, be ambitious, break the journey into manageable chunks, surround yourself with good people, and finally, to not be afraid to fail, all resonate with biotech innovators. Many companies find this journey highly challenging, so it was encouraging to hear about several Scottish industrial biotechnology companies that have bridged the valley of death and successfully scaled their technology. Enough and Celtic Renewables are two such examples.

Government support is essential to create an attractive ecosystem for innovation and growth in this sector, and we heard about lessons learned and good practice from other countries, for example, the BioPreferred program in the US that provides attractive market incentives for bio-derived products. We also heard about programs in Europe that support growth, scale-up and manufacture. Having the right support in place is crucial to success, and support can come in a variety of formats -infrastructure, funding and having a good network are all key factors, and one of the takeaways from the conference was to make sure you work with the right partners to help you achieve your goals.

Making a difference by growing the Bioeconomy is a subject close to our hearts at NCIMB. I took up the post of CEO last year, because NCIMB has a unique service offering for life science companies tackling the big challenges of our time.

NCIMB provides innovative microbial solutions for organisations looking to address some of society’s grand challenges.  We identify, characterise, quantify, and store microorganisms, in addition to supplying production microorganisms from our unique and extensive culture collection. Our bacterial culture collection, established in 1950 with a focus on strains that have industrial application, was arguably an idea ahead of its time. It has provided industry with a vital, underpinning resource for decades, and has continued to grow and develop as a resource,  with new accessions from researchers working in areas such as environmental microbiology, biotechnology, and the microbiome. Consequently, the catalogue has always kept pace with the needs of the industrial biotechnology sector and incudes many bacterial species well known for the production of valuable enzymes, metabolites, and chemical transformations.

My mission, as CEO of NCIMB is to provide the products and services biotech companies need to accelerate and de-risk their strain and process development needs, and to unlock the full potential of our unique and diverse collection of bacterial strains through collaboration and partnership.

If you are interested in working with us to unlock the potential of our collection of bacterial strains, or require robust industrial strains, especially for engineering biology and microbiome applications, then please get in touch at or by using the form on this page.

You can find out more about our culture collection at:

Dr Edward Green

We identify, characterise, quantify, and store microorganisms, in addition to supplying production microorganisms from our unique and extensive culture collection.