[USA, UK] Two university scientists have been recognised as top UK experts by being selected to join a US study mission.
Dr Carole Llewellyn and Steve Skill, of Swansea University, beat off competition to win a place on the studytour to Arizona and California.
The duo, who have a focus on microalgal biotechnology, visited Arizona State University in Phoenix and the University College of San Diego to build UK and US research links.
Dr Llewellyn is an associate professor in applied aquatic biosciences and Mr Skill a research and knowledge transfer officer. They are both part of the university’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research.
Dr Llewellyn said the trip revealed how advanced Swansea’s algal (algae) facilities were.
“It was excellent to meet world-leading scientists working on algae and associated algal facilities, but it also made us realise just how excellent Swansea’s algal facilities are and that it is essential that we build on these moving forward,” she said.
The UK Science and Innovation Network, Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group and research council network Phyconet, invited applications from academics and small and medium enterprises to participate in the study tour.
Out of 27 applicants, 10 were selected according to area of expertise and link to academia or industry.
A member of the Swansea team added organisms living in the sea and waterways are capable of supplying people with essential medicines, food, materials and fuel. As a result of this, there is now an “intense focus” on Blue Biotechnology – using marine organisms to develop new products – with the emergence of new businesses capitalising on the commercial potential of this.
An area of growing development in the UK is tapping into the huge commercial potential of microalgae — a single cell organism found in marine, brackish and freshwater environments. The USA has witnessed a similar surge of interest and significant public and private investment into developing the industry.
This has resulted in the construction of facilities capable of growing microalgae at large scales, something not currently present in the UK.
View original article at: Scientists fly the flag for Swansea with US trip