In what is a 'must attend' fixture in the synthetic biology events calendar, the 2017 annual meeting of SynBioBeta provided a useful window on the UK and international synthetic biology startup landscape.
Our Centre was very visible at the meeting: Prof Joyce Tait participated in fireside chat with Mark Lynas (ex GM-activist and now convertee to synbio) around the thorny GM regulatory issue. Dr Liz Fletcher moderated a session on designer biomaterials. Dr Lorraine Kerr (who arguably drew the short straw) had to go on the networking cruise down the Thames with SBB delegates on possibly the warmest day of the year yet. Great to see our SynthSys PhD and postdocs hard at work networking during the event.
This year, the UK Synthetic Biology Research Centres and Foundries shared a stand to present a more cohesive and joined-up promotion of the Government’s substantial investment in synthetic biology. To do this, we developed some new banners and Anais Moisy, user-experience designer in the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, applied her creative skills to generating an exciting new design (see image). As exhibitors, we had plenty of interest in what we do – from high school students to multinational company executives – and it remains a great event for catching up with the key players in the field and making new connections. Over the years it has been great to see UK startups maturing into credible and competitive businesses.