Fera Science has invested £1m to create a new insect research laboratory at its base at York Biotech Campus (YBC).
The expansion involves the conversion of a former storage unit on site into a purpose-built insect research unit, and will expand the business’s presence at YBC by more than 2,000 sq ft.
The laboratory, one of the first in Europe, will allow Fera to upscale its current insect services and help meet the needs of clients from across the food industry by being able to show insect bioconversion at scale and replicate the nature of insect farming in a factory.
Insect bioconversion is the process of feeding insects waste to create additional materials, such as protein or fertiliser.
The laboratory will not only support Fera’s clients, but will also enable collaborations with university partners, start-ups, insect farms and support policy and regulatory authorities within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Work on the unit started on site this month, with operational launch of the laboratory set for July 2022.
Fera is also aiming to recruit six team members across the coming months.
Damian Malins, venturing projects director at Fera Science, said: “We’re extremely excited about opening our new insect research laboratory, as it means we’re able to deliver far more to all our clients including commercial and public sector, as well as research partners.
“What’s even better is that we’re growing our base at YBC. The campus sits at the heart of an agricultural region that is driving the circular economy and bio-based industry. The collaboration it encourages is fantastic, and through connections with other tenants and near neighbours we have already established links to food producers, community groups and agri-businesses who wish to explore the potential of insect farming as part of their net carbon zero objectives.”
Liz Cashon, Innovation Campus manager at York Biotech Campus, added: “We’re so pleased to have been part of supporting the design and build of this new laboratory for Fera, having worked together since it was simply a concept. We always aim to help our tenants achieve their commercial ambitions, so it’s very rewarding for us that the laboratory will help Fera service more clients and establish additional partners.
“It’s an extremely exciting laboratory to have on site and further cements the campus as playing a major role in driving forwards research and innovation in the region, as well as helping to make the world a more sustainable place to live for future generations.”