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Get inspired by waste!

Synbio Power Pitch Competition 2021

Making the bioeconomy circular with microbes

Synthetic biology is based on uniting the amazing abilities of microbes with the latest engineering and design technology. The variety of things microbes can do is incredible. They can be used to produce, for example, bio-based fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and a variety of materials. But perhaps most excitingly, they can do this by using different side streams, such as agricultural or industrial waste or even CO2 emissions as a raw material. The aim of current research is to harness this potential and develop it into industrial scale production. Many exciting material innovations which mimic nature are already underway, including biosynthetic spidersilk and cellulose; biodegradable bioplastics and leather grown by fungi; and many more.

Replacing fossils

The urgent need to replace fossil-based products is pushing us towards bio-based alternatives, and this challenge is exactly what researchers are tackling with the tools of synthetic biology. It is no small thing to shift the whole basis of our material existence towards more sustainable resources. The bioeconomy can be seen as a sustainable alternative to a fossil-based economy because it uses biological, natural and renewable resources. The next step towards true sustainability is combining renewable resources with circular processes. This is what a circular bioeconomy is all about.

Synthetic biology as enabler for a circular economy

In a circular economy the aim is to redesign the life cycle of products so they require less raw materials and produce less waste. At the same time, circularity is all about turning one industry’s waste into another’s raw material. This is where synthetic biology steps in and might be the missing piece in the puzzle, the one that will take us beyond using renewable resources and producing biobased thus make bioeconomy truly circular. As the leader of the Bio and Circular Finland program at Business Finland, Marika Ollaranta, says “ We believe Synthetic Biology is a substantial enabler in the circular economy and this is why we want to create new innovation ecosystems.”

Calling for waste inspired innovations

This year's Synbio Power Pitch 2021 is on the same mission. We want to provoke new kinds of thinking and encourage students and start-ups to address the problem of existing waste fractions or industrial residues. Which companies are producing interesting sidestreams?

Which microbes could use them as raw material? What could these new alliances produce?

This year's challenge is to find innovative ways to turn these underutilized biological feedstocks into value-added products using the tools of synthetic biology and biotechnology. Several industries are known to be keen on finding new uses for their sidestreams.

Register here;

As one of our jury members Perttu Koskinen, VP of Innovation, Discovery and External Collaboration at Neste, says, there is huge potential in underutilized agricultural and forest industry side streams and an important role for synthetic biology to play: “Synthetic biology is a promising, fast advancing technology that may enable the use of these raw materials in the future to produce renewable chemicals, reduce the need for petroleum and to combat climate change.”

By taking part in the competition, you will receive valuable mentoring and feedback from our expert collaborators and partners. Your ideas will also gain visibility among investors, our industry partners and our research collaborators in academia and research institutions.

Let’s spark some inspiration and make use of those abundant supplies of unwanted and underrated feedstocks. Let’s make the bioeconomy truly circular!



Submit your pitch by 10.6.2021

Announcement of semi-finalists on 23.6.2021

Semi-finals and announcement of finalists in October 2021

Finals* @SLUSH side event on 1.12.2021 (to join us and follow you do not need to purchase Slush tickets)

*The finals will be a hybrid event, enabling participation on location or online from around the world!

Our distinguished jury:

Juha Lindfors, Partner, Lifeline Ventures

Perttu Koskinen, VP of Innovation, Discovery and External Collaboration, Neste

Janne Mielck, Private Equity, Infrastructure and Impact Investment executive, ECBF

Miikka Mähönen, Principal designer, HMD Global

Rasmus Pinomaa, Director, Corporate Sustainability, Kemira

Merja Penttilä, Professor in Synthetic biology, Aalto-University. Research professor, VTT

Tuula Palmén, Co-Creation Manager, VTT, Ph.D. EMBA, Cell and molecular biologist

Read more and submit your idea here:

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