Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Funding available for Application of Biotechnology to Carbon Removal


Deadline: 26 February 2024

The Carbon Technology Research Foundation (CTRF) is inviting applications for funding into new methods of carbon sequestration, which have their roots in nature, but which could be scaled significantly using biotechnology

They are interested in projects targeting greenhouse gas removal from the atmosphere into both terrestrial and ocean systems. They believe the application of innovative synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and genomics tools across their identified challenge areas offers significant potential in the field of greenhouse gas removal.

Through this Call for Proposals, CTRF will invest in cutting-edge research on the application of biotechnology to deliver enhanced, scalable solutions to carbon dioxide removal (and to a lesser extent other greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O)). CTRF is interested in projects which target carbon removal from the atmosphere into both terrestrial and ocean/freshwater systems. Key research challenges have been identified by CTRF and these will form the priority areas of this Call. These opportunities represent a snapshot of what may be possible in the application of biotechnology to the enhancement of nature-based carbon sequestration. CTRF remains open to highly transformative research which has the potential to disrupt and encourages researchers to engage with them in speculative discussion prior to application.

Prioritiesaining Videos, and Courses

  • Metabolic engineering in plants
    • Improving photosynthetic efficiency in higher plants and algae by optimizing key enzymes, creating novel photorespiration bypass routes or carbon fixing pathways, or adapting other elements of the photosynthetic machinery or plant architecture to sequester more carbon.
  • Soil carbon sequestration
    • Investigating the potential of soil carbon sequestration, adapting the root-soil ecosystem, exploring symbiotic relationships with microbes and fungi and the sequestration potential of archaea.
  • Engineering of photosynthetic organisms
    • Understanding photosynthetic organisms and their role in carbon sequestration. Engineering of faster growing strains of algae, bacteria or fungi, those that produce a higher proportion of carbon in their biomass or co-cultivation with carbon concentrating organisms.
  • Ocean carbon removal
    • The application of biotechnology to increase the ocean’s ability to remove and store carbon.
  • Biotech-enhanced weathering
    • Investigating colonies of microorganisms, plants, lichens and fungi that co-exist in local ecology to speed up dissolution rates. Promotion of bio-enhanced mineralisation through engineering of sub-surface microbiota.

Research Challenges

  • Whilst this opportunity is open to any proposal addressing a research challenge related to enhanced carbon removal through the application of biotechnology to natural processes, CTRF particularly welcomes proposals that:
    • Utilise ground-breaking technological advances in genome editing (eg. CRISPR-Cas) and synthetic biology to enhance natural sequestration by key groups of organisms: bacteria, algae, archaea, fungi, and higher plants.
    • Seek to improve the photosynthetic efficiency of higher plants (and algae) through:
      • Metabolic engineering to optimise efficiency of key enzymes.
      • Replacement of key CO2 fixation enzymes with more efficient carboxylation enzymes or engineering of photorespiration bypass routes.
      • Optimise other components of the photosynthetic machinery
      • Enhance light absorption through expansion of the photosynthetic active radiation spectrum.
      • Creation of novel engineered carbon-fixing pathways.
      • Modifying canopy or changing the morphology and biochemical composition of the root system.
      • Engineering aquaporins.
      • Utilising trees as carbon sinks.
    • Attempt to understand unicellular & simple multicellular photosynthetic organisms (e.g. microalgae) role in carbon sequestration and engineer more efficient strains.
    • Engineering of faster-growing strains of macroalgae and/or strains that produce a higher proportion of carbon in their biomass.
    • Investigate the role of bacteria in both terrestrial and oceanic carbon sequestration. Engineering of these photoautotrophic organisms to sequester carbon more efficiently and/or to enhance their biomineralization capabilities.
    • Apply genome editing to molecular breeding of fungi to enhance their carbon sequestration capabilities in marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
    • Try to understand the potential of soil carbon sequestration for carbon removal; investigate and adapt the root-soil ecosystem and explore symbiotic relationships with microbes and fungi.
    • Explore co-cultivation of nitrogen-fixing or carbon concentrating organisms such as cyanobacteria.

Funding Information

  • In 2024 there is up to £2.5m available for grants. It is anticipated that CTRF will fund up to 5 projects.
  • Projects can be up to 48 months in duration and request up to £800,000 funding.

What they expect to see in proposals?

Proposals should address research challenges detailed in this call. Your proposal should:

  • Be adventurous and ambitious, demonstrating high impact potential in the carbon removal space.
    • Propose a credible methodology and pathway to impact, whilst demonstrating awareness of the inevitable challenges associated with scale-up of these biotechnologies.
    • Detailed plans for dissemination and knowledge exchange with relevant stakeholders such as industry or government.
    • Demonstrate credibility in the assembled research team alongside an effective project management plan and appropriate allocation of resources.

Eligibility Criteria

  • CTRF is a global funder; they aim to fund the highest impact research programmes. Researchers in higher education institutions or public or not-for-profit research establishments are eligible to apply for a CTRF grant. Please see CTRF’s Standard Terms and Conditions of Grants.
  • Eligible principal investigators for a CTRF standard research grant must be at least one of the following:
    • employed at the administering research organisation at equivalent to lecturer-level or above (tenure-track).
    • hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed project and the host organisation is prepared to provide all the normal support available to permanent employees.
    • hold an externally funded fellowship. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis, please discuss with CTRF in advance of your application.
    • Applicants can be the lead/principal investigator on one proposal only and co-investigator on additional proposals.

For more information, visit CTRF.

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By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of

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