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Issue 3: July 2024

From the Director

A man with short grey hair and thin-framed glasses stands against a backdrop of fern fronds. He is wearing a navy blue shirt and smiling slightly.

Welcome to the latest news from our Advanced Engineering Biology Future Science Platform (AEB FSP).

Our field continues to move at an astounding pace. Converging advances in areas like AI and laboratory automation are transforming bioengineering tools and knowledge. I discussed this move towards 'generative biology' in a recent article for the World Economic Forum.

Working with colleagues in CSIRO and Main Sequence Ventures, we reviewed our 2021 Synthetic Biology Roadmap and delivered a new progress report. The field is flourishing in Australia, with 16 new start-ups, big investments in R&D, and a maturing end-to-end ecosystem.

We still need to work on coordinated national leadership to advocate for the benefits that engineering biology can deliver. The AEB FSP is playing a strong role, coming together with around 30 people in our synbio ecosystem at global conference SynBioBeta, held in California. I was fortunate to have the opportunity, with Michele Stansfield from the scale-up company Cauldron, to talk on the main stage about Australia's great potential.

We celebrated our community, partners, and progress at our second annual workshop. Gathering in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, we delved into topics ranging from new AI tools to novel approaches in the social and economic aspects of biotechnology deployment. We workshopped best practice in access and benefit-sharing, and heard from a range of research leaders through keynote talks and panel sessions.

I also want to acknowledge that this is NAIDOC week, and we are pleased to see our research on Cross-Cultural Considerations of Island Field Containment in the Torres Strait featured by Wiley, alongside a profile of CSIRO's Indigenous Research Projects Advisor Torres Webb.

Now in our second year, the AEB FSP is in full delivery mode. We have 20 dedicated researchers and 13 PhD scholars, amongst an engaged CSIRO community of over 100 people and a range of collaborators across academia and industry. We are making exciting progress and I encourage you to reach out to our team if you'd like to find out more or get involved.

Australian biomanufacturing on show at SynBioBeta 2024

AEB FSP Director Robert Speight took to the main stage with Cauldron co-Founder and CEO Michele Stansfield. Their fireside chat covered the growth of Australia's biomanufacturing slipstream, and the importance of collaboration.

Our second annual workshop

We held our second annual workshop in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Gathering over two days, more than 100 scientists from across Australia engaged in fascinating presentations, engaging panels, and networking events.

Read the recap

Celebrating NAIDOC week: showcasing Indigenous research excellence

Find our research featured in Wiley's 2024 NAIDOC collection, which includes a feature article by Torres Webb and Kirsty Wissing and a special profile on Torres.