Biotechnology Group


The Biotechnology Group is the focal point within the RSC for members who have an academic or industrial interest in the chemical aspects of biotechnology. 
The Group was formed in 1987, partly in response to the publication of the Spinks Report in 1980, a government-funded Report of a Joint Working Party on Biotechnology under the chairmanship of Dr. A. Spinks, ICI. The report was to define Biotechnology as the ‘application of biological organisms, systems or processes to manufacturing industry’, a description that would not be contested now in the 21st Century.

Felix Franks Biotechnology Medal - Winner

The Biotechnology Group committee are very pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2019 medal is Professor Zhen Gu, KSLA.

Felix Franks Biotechnology Medal

This award is to encourage and recognise excellence in early career scientists in the application of chemical sciences to the study of any aspect of biotechnology, drawing attentio...

Biotechnology Group Aims

The aim of the Biotechnology Group is to further the interests of both academic and industrial members of the RSC in the subject of biotechnology.


The remit of the Group is:

  • to organise conferences and courses that (i) promote the advancement of knowledge in biotechnology and (ii) facilitate networking of its practitioners
  • to interact with the RSC, the Society for Chemical Industry, the Biochemical Society and other interest groups, as appropriate, to facilitate broad-ranging discussion of biotechnology issues
  • to interact with subject groups in other RSC Divisions in order to exploit the multi-disciplinary nature of biotechnology to the benefit of the RSC in general
  • to assist the Industry and Technology Division (ITD) and the Chemistry Biology Interface Division (CBID) in their work with government in order to enhance the understanding of the importance of biotechnology and the role of chemists within this diverse scientific discipline. 

Committee membership 

These remits are pursued by a committee of twelve members, steered by an executive committee of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. It is composed of a mix of industrial and academic biotechnologists, who meet three times a year in January, June and October in Burlington House, London.


In order to provide Biotechnology Group members and other RSC interest group members access to the latest cutting edge research, a major activity of the Group is to run conferences. This also establishes and encourages interaction between members. We usually run two to three per annum, mostly one-day meetings but occasionally 3-day meetings. The meetings, or series of meetings, run by the Group over the past ten years or so have had the following wide range of titles:

  • Biotransformations: From Science to Industrial Application
  • Chemical Tools in Systems Biology I, II, III
  • Chemistry, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine I, II
  • Chemical and Biological Therapeutic Approaches to Neurological Disorders I, II, III
  • Formulation and Analysis for Biotherapeutics
  • Glycomics - From Glycobiology to Diagnostics & Therapeutics I, II
  • Translational Biocatalysis
  • Micro- and Nanotechnologies for Diagnostics and Therapeutics
  • Biodiversity: New Leads for the Pharmaceutical and Agrochemical Industries
  • Functional Molecules from Natural Sources
  • Bioactive Natural Products: Translating Promise into Practice
  • Nucleic Acids as Diagnostics and Therapies. 

In the near future, the Group plans to run conferences covering the following important topics:

  • Nano/Microtechnologies for Diagnostics and Therapeutics
  • Bioimaging and Biosensing
  • Nanomaterials for Drug Delivery and Vaccines
  • Natural Product Inspired Drugs and Agrochemicals
  • Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier: From Science to Clinical Application 


The Group also runs Courses/Workshops in collaboration with The Bioupdate Foundation with titles such as Freeze Drying of Biologicals and Pharmaceuticals, Protein Biotechnology in the 21st Century, and Introducing Glycotechnology.

In order to keep our members abreast of Group activities, we publish, usually biannually, a Biotechnology Group Newsletter. This lists meetings already run and a website link to a Report/Programme of each meeting so that members who were unable to attend can view the list of speakers and the titles of their talks. It also generates publicity for upcoming meetings which are also listed. Some issues also contain feature articles of interest to members.

Photograph of Professor Robert Thomas MRSC

Obituary for Professor Robert Thomas MRSC


Professor Felix Franks

Obituary for Professor Felix Franks

1926 - 2016

Join this Interest Group

If you are a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and would like to join an Interest Group, please contact Membership Department using the email link below with:

  • your name
  • your membership number
  • state the name of the group you wish to join    

Downloadable Files

Biotechnology Group Newsletter - Spring 2019
Download the newsletter
PDF iconPDF (606k)  

Chemical Tools in Systems Biology III, 17 Dec 2018
Download the full conference report
PDF iconPDF (518k)  

Developing Biotherapeutics for Neurological Disorders, 10 Dec 2018
Download the full conference report
PDF iconPDF (1814k)  

2016 - 2018 Events
Download to find out more about our past conferences and events
PDF iconPDF (201k)  

Annual Report 2018
PDF iconPDF (836k)  

PDF files require Link icon Adobe Acrobat Reader

Related Links

Link icon MyRSC Biotechnology Group
This group is open to anyone with an interest in Biotechnology. You will be required to register for MyRSC, then you can sign up to become a member of this group

Link icon What is Biotechnology
A non-profit educational research which provides information on what biotechnology is, who has been involved in its development, and the impact it has on healthcare. Since its launch in February 2013, the website has had nearly 60,000 visitors from around the world, including school children, policy makers, industry experts, scientists and financial investors.

External links will open in a new browser window

Contact and Further Information

Membership Department
Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 432 141