The government has committed £40 million to set up new research centres and fund the development of synthetic DNA

The UK government has said it will invest £40 million in synthetic biology over the next five years, £32 million of which will be used to establish three new research centres in Edinburgh, Manchester and Warwick.

The centres will be jointly funded by three of the research councils, with £10 million coming from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), £10.8 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and £700,000 from the Medical Research Council (MRC). In addition, £10.6 million will come from the government’s capital budget. The BBSRC will also award nearly £8 million to research groups across the UK working on the design and manufacture of synthetic DNA.

Back in 2012, the government identified synthetic biology as one of the country’s ‘eight great technologies’ – areas of science they want the UK to become world leaders in. Announcing the investment last week, business secretary Vince Cable said: ‘From materials for advanced manufacturing to developing new antibiotics and better tests for diseases, this new £40 million investment is in one of the most promising areas of modern science.’