Bioeconomy Accelerator

Funding is available for businesses and organisations based in Scotland that are working within the industrial biotechnology, food and drink and bioeconomy industries.

There are two funding strands within this scheme. The first strand offers funding of between £20,000 and £99,999 and the second strand offers funding of between £100,000 and £1 million.


Before You Start

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has created the Bioeconomy Accelerator in partnership with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC). This accelerator programme is part of ZWS's Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme (RECEAP) which aims to maximise the economic and environmental value of resources that are used in Scotland.

Industrial Biotechnology is usually defined as being the use of biological resources, such as micro-organisms and enzymes, for the purpose of transforming biomass into valuable chemicals, materials or energy. The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre accelerates and de-risks the use of Industrial Biotechnology solutions and initiates collaborative projects between industry and academia.

The purpose of this accelerator is to increase exposure and to enable collaboration between the worlds of business and research. The end result will be transformative projects that will drive development of the circular economy whilst supporting the Scottish Government's Making Things Last strategy.

Previous projects have included CelluComp, a company that turns nano fibres from root vegetables into an environmentally friendly paint thickener, and Ogilvy Spirits, a company that makes vodka from potatoes that have been considered to be unsuitable for the supermarket.

The objectives of the Bioeconomy Accelerator are as follows:

  • To help stimulate the development and uptake of sustainable, resource efficient technologies, products and services that will support a circular economy within Scotland.
  • To encourage the collaboration of organisations across value chains, which would include enterprises and academia. This would help to use the opportunities, and overcome the challenges, of a Scottish circular economy.
  • To provide support and capacity building that will enable the development and adoption of creative business models.
  • To provide funding for Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy projects that can demonstrate proof of concept and that have the potential for commercial exploitation within the next five years. This will allow them to reach a level where they are attractive to follow-on funders and investors.
  • To achieve substantial carbon savings.


Interested parties should note the following restrictions:

  • Zero Waste Scotland is not able to fund activities relating to the production of agricultural or fisheries products in cases where there are other EU funding programmes that are more appropriately aligned with the project scope.
  • Energy from Waste (EfW) projects will not be considered eligible unless the technology used produces highly valuable end products.

What You Need To Know

Key Criteria

Interested parties should note the following eligibility requirements:

  • Applications will be welcome from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and higher education institutes in Scotland that deliver circular economy and waste reduction projects within the industrial biotechnology and food and drink sectors as well as within the wider bioeconomy. Funding can be allocated to bioeconomy projects that are led by SMEs and supported by Scottish academia or it can be allocated to solitary SMEs so that they may progress with projects by themselves.
  • A collaboration between two or more organisations is encouraged in cases where this strengthens the overall proposal. A large enterprise and an academic partner or research organisation may be part of a larger collaboration. The lead partner will be the sole, direct recipient of the funding, with the exception of some eligible academic partners who may claim funding for their involvement in the project from IBioIC.

It is expected that the project proposals will focus upon CE business models, CE technologies, industrial biotechnology, resource recovery and recycling and innovation in regards to the collection of products or materials.

Match Funding

Information regarding match funding has not been stipulated. Interested parties should contact the funding provider directly for further details.

Eligible Expenditure

Depending upon the funding mechanism that has been selected, support may be provided for eligible operating or capital project costs.

How To Apply

The next deadline for outline project proposals will be 19 December 2016.

Zero Waste Scotland will aim to respond in writing to outline project proposals within 30 working days. Applications should note that these outline project proposals do not constitute as funding applications. Outline project proposals will be reviewed and only then may applicants be invited to submit a full application, depending upon how well the project fits in regards to eligibility and suitability and how well it aligns with the core priorities of the call. Budget availability will also be a factor.

If the applicant has been invited to submit this form, then they will be sent a separate full application form, alongside a more comprehensive application guidance document. At this stage, a credit check will be conducted on the applicant organisation and the Full Application will be subjected to a commercial assessment.

If their full application proves to be successful, funding will be available from the financial year 2016-2017 for eligible expenditure incurred up to 31 December 2018.