InCrops, the University of East Anglia based bio-renewables hub, has announced the appointment of Marie Francis OBE as its chair.
With project partners across the East of England, Innovation in Crops (InCrops) provides specialist business support for the commercialisation of new bio-renewable and low carbon products derived from crops. It links the region’s top researchers with businesses looking to develop new products for the marketplace.
Marie (pictured) brings connections with research-based and commercial organisations across the region and has strong links to the agricultural and food industry.
She holds a degree in Biology from UEA and has worked in agriculture in various roles for most of her career. In 2004 she was awarded an OBE for services to agriculture and the rural economy.
She said: “I am really excited about the opportunities that exist to produce new, high value, crop-based products. Satisfying the needs of a growing world population in a sustainable, low carbon way will continue to drive innovation in the bioscience sector and the East of England has a number of world-class research organisations.
“I believe that InCrops has an important role to play in helping to develop the commercial opportunities that this research base represents – I look forward to joining the team.”
Prof Trevor Davies, UEA Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Enterprise and Engagement, said: “We are delighted that Marie Francis has agreed to be chair of InCrops. She will be a great asset for InCrops which is playing a major role in stimulating the contribution of crops to sustainability and new business opportunities.”
InCrops has also appointed two new business innovations managers to its growing team. Bianca Forte and Benedict Binns joined the enterprise hub earlier this year and both bring a wealth of experience within their specialist sectors.
Bianca holds a degree in Biological Sciences and an MSc in Environmental Management for Business. Having previously worked as a bioscientist for various research projects, she will be taking on the lead within the biofuels and bioenergy sectors.
Ben is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the built environment sector. Prior to joining InCrops, he completed a Strategic Carbon Management MBA at UEA and, along with his experience in generating and developing business he provides consultancy services to clients looking to develop low carbon products.
InCrops has received funding from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and the European Regional Development fund (ERDF) to develop the enterprise hub which links the region’s top researchers with businesses looking to develop new products for the marketplace. The aim, by 2013, is to have helped in creating over 100 new jobs and 80 new businesses, whilst bringing in £3m of new public and private sector funding to the region.
The InCrops Enterprise Hub provides a package of free business support to companies, SMEs, microbusinesses and entrepreneurs based in the East of England. It develops applied and collaborative industry led projects with academic partners, develops new products and processes to exploit alternative and non-food crops and promotes natural and renewable technologies into the low carbon economy.
A range of market sectors are supported, including green chemicals and biopolymers, natural fibres, composites and nano-materials, bio-based materials for construction, personal care products, transportation and low carbon vehicles, bioenergy, biomass heat and power, biopharming and high value chemicals.
To find out more telephone 01603 597164, email email@example.com
or log on to the InCrops website