Boğaziçi University - Cambridge University partnership for a future focused on bioeconomy
Research Environment Links program is intended to increase Turkey’s research capacity through cooperation between institutions from Turkey and the United Kingdom. Supported within the scope of this program, the project called ‘’Joint Consortium on Algal Biotechnology for Bioeconomy - Driven Future’’ aims to carry out joint scientific research and provide education on algae biotechnology through partnership between research centers of the two countries.
Researchers from İstanbul Microalgae Biotechnologies Research and Development Unit (İMBİYOTAB) and Cambridge University Microalgae Innovation Center (AIC) will provide interdisciplinary studies and education within the scope of this project. The project will be carried out by the leadership of Dr. Berat Haznedaroğlu in Turkey and Prof. Alison Smith in England, the head of the department of Plant Sciences at Cambridge University.
Cambridge University Microalgae Innovation Center is considered to be among a limited number of centers in the world for algae based research. Through the cooperation with this center known for its activities related to R&D and public education, İstanbul Microalgae Biotechnologies R&D Unit is intended to become Turkey’s first and most comprehensive R&D center that would help in the production of high value-added products based on algae technologies in the sectors of energy, agriculture, environment and health.
When we asked Dr. Berat Haznedaroğlu about this partnership, he said that Turkey’s current deficit arises from energy and health sectors, and emphasized the fact that dependency on imported petrol and medicine creates an unsustainable deficit for the country in terms of its economic development. He also pointed out that, Turkey’s dependency on imported fossil fuel leads to high levels of green gas emissions, which negatively affects the prevention efforts against global climate change.
Looking from the health perspective, Berat Haznedaroğlu drew attention to the accelerating health expenses due to the increasing life expectancy and elderly population. In this context, he underlined the ultimate goal of the cooperation between the two centers as developing globally competitive bio-products in the sectors of energy, health and agriculture by utilizing algae to a greater extent.
Haznedaroğlu highlighted algae’s contribution to sustainable development and its high market value as a multi-use product and thus its general economic value.
Berat Haznedaroğlu was awarded ‘’Newton Advanced Fellowship’’ Research Award in 2015 by English Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society, known as the world’s most established scientific academy. Following this award, he conducted a study titled "Cellular and Molecular Characterization of Non-model Microalgae for Maximized Lipid Synthesis” between March 2015 and 2018. Carried out together with Cambridge University, the study investigated the use of fat accumulation in microalgae for the production of biofuel at cellular and molecular levels.
Supported and put into practice within the scope of Istanbul Development Agency’s 2015 Innovative Istanbul Financial Support Program, İstanbul Microalgae Biotechnologies Research and Development Unit (İMBİYOTAB) is a center where products and applications are being developed in the sectors of food, medicine, energy and environment, after studies that had been supported by basic science activities in the field of microalgae technologies.
The center also provides consultancy to public and private sectors for product developments and R&D in algae biomass, waste water treatment, biofuel acquisition, food, drug applications and other value-added products. Along with master and doctoral thesis studies, social support programs are also carried out for the civil society and municipal and educational institutions within the scope of İMBİYOTAB.