The ∼1300 academic and industry members of the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB) Crossing Biological Membranes Network (CBMNet) are motivated to explore how knowledge of the roles of biological membranes can be exploited to enhance the productivity of cell factories. Improving existing, and developing new, cell factories requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms by which substances are transported into, within, and out of the cells. Embedding consideration of membrane function into the design of cell factories is crucial for the future of almost all cell-based Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) applications. CBMNet provides a forum for: knowledge exchange between academics and companies; developing new interactions in the context of responsible innovation; forming, and then supporting, new multi-disciplinary teams to develop innovative membrane-based solutions to overcome IBBE bottlenecks; and funding consortia to carry out feasibility studies with the target of generating competitive bids for further research funding. More broadly, CBMNet is working with other NIBB to raise the profile of IBBE among policymakers and develop a national strategy for IBBE in the U.K.

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