In the spirit of international collaboration, the UK Science Office funded a delegation of 15 prominent scientists and business leaders to travel to the US to connect with researchers and foster productive relationships in the field of algae.
The Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) was selected as a premier site to visit due to its standing as a leading algae testbed in the US, as well as the leading testbed in the Department of Energy’s Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3). Delegates also visited with researchers and toured spaces from AzCATI’s academic home, the largest traditional university in the US, Arizona State University (ASU).
The delegation visited AzCATI to tour the facilities and identify areas for collaboration between UK institutions and companies. The testbed tour started with the algae culture collection, the modern analytical facilities and the indoor and outdoor growing capacity. In particular the team was interested in applications related to wastewater, human nutrition, analytical techniques and photobioreactors. The group contributed to a lively discussion between AzCATI researchers and the delegates, and as an example of collaborative potential, one of the UK investigators revealed they used microorganisms to clean up contaminated mine water in the West country.
“International collaboration will help to change the pace of getting research to market,” said tour leader John McGowen, director of operations at ATP3 and AzCATI. “This is vital to the science of algae where new products can create sustainable solutions to the world’s pressing needs.”
The group identified several areas of immediate collaboration during the visit, and follow-up discussions are in progress to further solidify these relationships.
Following the AzCATI visit, the group toured the ASU BioDesign Institute and the Interdisciplinary Science Building IV, which has a model of the Mars rover, a highlight of the ASU visit.
“There is a real interest from both small companies and academics to visit and learn more about AzCATI and ATP3,” said Nicholas Hooper, head of science and innovation at the UK Science and Innovation Network. “The UK company Algenuity has benefited tremendously from their partnership with ASU and we’d like to extend that to others.”
For collaboration opportunities with ATP3 or AzCATI, contact Jessica Cheng at Jessica.Cheng@asu.edu.