There is great demand for renewable and bio-based materials and biological processes in society. At the same time, there is an even greater need in technology for better, more functional and reasonably priced materials. This, however, must not draw our attention away from material qualities. Reconciling all these elements will require a whole new approach in research.
The Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials is focused on engineering and investigating materials from the molecular to the nano level. The aim of the CoE is to gain a deeper scientific understanding of how biological raw materials, the biological tailoring and production of materials, self-assembly and genetic engineering can be harnessed for the future needs of material science. The CoE integrates four areas of competence and expertise: the self-assembly of molecules and colloids, the genetic engineering of proteins, the production and tailoring of cellulose and wood-based nanomaterials, and the biological production of engineered biomolecules.
The applicability of biosynthetic materials is limited by challenges in the production. The CoE is looking to change the production methods and promote the use of different biosynthetic materials in the production processes. The vision is that over the coming decades, the dividing line between materials and biological sciences will fade away and biological production mechanisms will become cost-effective. This would have a profound societal impact in Finland.