Swansea University scientists selected for Microalgae Mission to the USA

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Two Swansea University scientists have been recognised as top UK experts in microalgal biotechnology by selection to join a US study mission.

Dr Carole Llewellyn

Dr Carole Llewellyn Associate Professor in Applied Aquatic Biosciences and Steve Skill Research and Knowledge Transfer Officer, Advanced Bio-Products, from the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University beat off competition to win a place on a study tour.



Steve Skill

Carole and Steve along with the other UK delegates attended a week of visits and meetings to Arizona State University, Phoenix and the University College of San Diego (UCSD), California concluding with the Food and Fuel For the 21st Century symposium at UCSD.





The UK Science & Innovation Network (USIN), Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group (ABSIG) and PHYCONET invited applications from academics and Small and Medium Enterprises to participate in the study tour to the USA with the aim of building UK/US research links.

Out of 27 applicants, 10 were selected according to area of expertise and affiliation to academia/industry. The successful applicants took part in the Microalgae Mission to the USA last month.

A member of the team explained that in our sea and waterways live organisms capable of supplying us with essential medicines, food, materials and fuel. As a consequence we are seeing intense focus on Blue Biotechnology with the emergence of new businesses capitalising on the commercial potential of our seas.

An area of growing development in the UK is tapping into the huge commercial potential of microalgae - a single cell organism found in marine, brackish and freshwater environments. The USA has witnessed a similar surge of interest paralleled with significant public and private investment into developing the industry. The result is the construction of facilities capable of growing microalgae at large scales, something we do not have in the UK and presents an interesting opportunity for knowledge and technology exchange.

Carole and Steve said: “It was excellent to meet world leading scientists working on algae and associated algal facilities, but it also made us realise just how excellent Swansea’s algal facilities are and that it is essential that we build on these moving forward.” 

A blog report of the visit can be found at http://tinyurl.com/olg5bdk

The successful applicants were

  • Carole Llewellyn (CSAR, Swansea University)
  • Steve Skill (CSAR, Swansea University)
  • Mike Allen (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)
  • Naz Bashir (Algaecytes Ltd)
  • Clare Eno (Vitaplankton limited)
  • Joe McDonald (Varicon Aqua Solutions Ltd)
  • Daniel Murray (Industrial Phycology)
  • Brenda Parker (University College London)
  • Olga Sayanova (Rothamsted Research)
  • Michael Yates (Algenuity Ltd)

For more information about The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University go to http://www.swansea.ac.uk/csar

Phyconet is a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB), a UK-based network enabling biologists, engineers and industrial partners to consolidate their knowledge and expertise to unlock the IB potential of microalgae. For more information go to http://www.phyconet.org.uk

For more information about Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group (ABSIG) go to


The UK Science & Innovation Network (USIN). Science and innovation play an important role in encouraging prosperity and growth through the Science and Innovation Network (SIN). For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/uk-science-and-innovation-network