State goes Deep Green with algae-based biotech funding

Photo: Thinkstock

Photo: Thinkstock

In summary: 
  • A $1m NSW Government grant will support an innovative bio-manufacturing facility at UTS. Based on algae and known as the Deep Green Biotech Hub, it will connect industry, entrepreneurs and students to boost the state’s bio-economy
  • Algae is a sustainable resource with the potential to become a cost-effective ingredient in cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and animal feedstocks

A NSW Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH) is to be established in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and other stakeholders, after the announcement of a $1 million grant by the NSW Department of Industry. Combined with UTS funding, the grant ensures the delivery of a $9 million dollar project.  The Hub will be located in the centre of the $1.3 billion UTS campus, providing users with ease of access to other University facilities, research talent and transport.

This significant grant from the NSW Government aims to put NSW at the forefront of the algae-based biotechnology industry in Australia, as well as connecting to key international leaders. The Hub will create an enabling, incubator environment to develop algae as a cost-effective and sustainable resource in a diverse range of products including nutritional supplements, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and animal feed.

UTS have invested heavily not only in implementing sustainable policies, supporting research into bio-products from renewable sources such as algae, but also in fostering an entrepreneurial and creative precinct where the commercialisation of such products can be explored.

A multidisciplinary UTS team recently showcased concepts for Australia’s first living algae building. Underpinned by an Australian Research Council industry linkage project, others have established a partnership with GE Healthcare to jointly develop production equipment and laboratories to produce pharmaceutical-grade algal products.

The recent establishment of the centre for Industrialised Algae (UTS:IA), the first of its kind in Australia, means UTS is well positioned to integrate multiple aspects of the emerging advanced bio-manufacturing economy.

The NSW Minister for Small Business, John Barilaro, said, “The work being done at the University of Technology Sydney to support the algae-based bio-economy both here and abroad is a fantastic example of the kind of innovation we’re driving in NSW to encourage and strengthen the businesses that will create the jobs of the future,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Funding through the Boost Program will help to accelerate local industry development and support better research and business networks.”

Professor Peter Ralph, Director of the UTS Climate Change Cluster (C3), said an important outcome will be bringing together science, engineering and industry, both big and small, to understand what is possible in the new bio-economy and how to access the knowledge to successfully exploit this new global market.

“This far-sighted investment will also enable SME and start-ups to access pilot manufacturing facilities to validate the production of samples for a range of sectors including the pharmaceutical, industrial enzyme and aquaculture feedstock industries.”

The hub will also connect with University-wide entrepreneurship programs, such as the UTS:Hatchery, to engage with students to develop new companies and technologies and more quickly identify commercial opportunities for the algae-based biotechnology sector.

Funding for the project by the NSW Government will be spread over two years from July 2016.


For more information, contact:
Professor Peter Ralph
Director UTS Climate Change Cluster
T: + 61 2 9514 4070
E: or

UTS media contact:
Marea Martlew
UTS Faculty of Science
Marketing and Communications Officer
T: +61 2 9514 1766

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