Life sciences expert and former FT journalist joins IBioIC to lead industry engagement

Liz Fletcher, new director of business engagement and operations, at IBioIC

THE Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) has appointed Liz Fletcher as its new director of business engagement and operations, to support the growth of Scotland’s developing bioeconomy and delivery of the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology.

Liz joins IBioIC from the University of Edinburgh, where she managed the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology alongside her role as senior research development manager. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the life sciences sector and was previously a market and technology analyst at Scottish Enterprise, supporting companies looking to develop or expand into life sciences. Prior to this, Liz worked in journalism, writing and editing for the Financial Times and Nature Biotechnology.

In her new position, Liz will lead the IBioIC business engagement team and help shape the innovation centre’s partnerships with industry. This includes the continued development of the organisation’s RapidBio and FlexBio Scale-Up Centres, which offer expertise and facilities to help companies develop and test bioprocesses at scale, accelerating commercialisation for companies at the start of their innovation journey.

Liz will also help to grow IBioIC’s industrial and academic network, as well as its 120-strong membership base. Liz will help to link these partners with relevant research teams and collaboration opportunities that can help to grow the industrial biotechnology community in Scotland.

In 2013, Scotland launched the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology which set out to achieve targets of £900m turnover and over 200 companies active in industrial biotechnology by 2025. Recent figures from IBioIC showed significant progress to reaching this goal, with 130 companies currently generating nearly £750 million in associated revenues.

Liz Fletcher said: “Scotland’s industrial biotechnology community has grown significantly in recent years and I am excited to join the team and play a part in its continued development. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing will be crucial, creating partnerships between industry and academia to develop new products and techniques and encourage early-stage companies to scale-up. IBioIC’s network already includes a number of fantastic companies with cutting-edge research and offerings that could make a real difference in helping Scotland’s economy to flourish in a sustainable way, and I am looking forward to connecting with them all.”

Mark Bustard, CEO of IBioIC, added: “Scotland has world-leading skills and capabilities in biotechnology and Liz is an excellent addition to the team, helping to bring industry experts, academic research and our member companies closer together. Liz is well-respected in the science community and will bring extensive knowledge and experience to her role to grow our network and drive innovation. Sustainability is fast becoming a top priority across all industries, and a growing bioeconomy will play a critical part in helping to achieve national net-zero goals, offering alternatives to industrial processes, for the likes of chemical and petrochemical-based products.”

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