Biofilm Engineering Report

We hosted our second academic/industry workshop on Biofilm Engineering in Edinburgh on 30 April 2019. We thank all those who attended and contributed to the workshop.

Executive Summary

This workshop was aimed at exploring unmet industrial needs and resulting research questions in the field of Biofilm Engineering. NBIC partner organisations shared their unmet needs and the 90 attendees (21 companies represented) worked in syndicates to discuss the key challenges and ways to overcome them.

Three main needs emerged:

i. The need to engineer biofilms for benefit in a human or an animal;

ii. Creation of a bespoke biofilm community for a defined process outcome or benefit and;

iii. Improved approaches for investigating, enhancing monitoring or studying biofilms in the engineering setting.


Challenges to overcome in order to address these needs include:

• Developing improved model systems including ‘good’, ‘bad’, in-situ, in-vivo, in-silico (both large and small scale).

• The development and standardisation of experimental and monitoring methods including real-time, highthroughput, large scale and multi-variable.

• Improved methods for manipulation of an existing biofilm are critical to achieve relevant end products or results.


Next Steps

1. There is a clear need to bring together more focussed industry/academic groups around the specific industry/ sector related problems and needs in Biofilm Engineering which were articulated in the group outputs e.g. on-site systems for recycling of water in a domestic environment. NBIC should coordinate this along with other interested groups (e.g. IBIOIC, WRC, NIBBS and KTN).

2. NBIC should consider and direct how to better influence more structured funding in this area and consider targeting a project call towards Biofilm Engineering.

3. The key themes identified should be built into the NBIC strategy relating to Biofilm Engineering.

4. NBIC support is needed in specific lobbying/outreach in areas such as identifying and releasing funding for fundamental research, creating an appropriate regulatory framework and greater public awareness of opportunities.

The Report is now published and available for download. Please forward this to others in your organisation who may find it useful.

Publication date: 23/11/2019. Author: The National Biofilms Innovation Centre.