Events in 2019

Bioladies event: All things Bio: Sustainable. Innovative. Collaborative – Tuesday 5 November, Malta

We had a productive visit to sunny Malta, at our first event outside the UK meeting AquaBioTech and understanding the fantastic capabilities for aquaculture and blue biotechnology. We had presentations from Manya (AquaBioTech), Jennifer (ICT Biochain) and Brenda (UCL’s Bio-ID programme) and Iris gave an overview of the bioeconomy.

There are many opportunities for collaboration with Malta in various areas of the bioeconomy and it was a fantastic opportunity to spread the word about the Bioladies network where we met some wonderful people who are engaging with diversity and conservation.

Bioladies Event: Focus on Biobased Products – Thursday 24 October, Norwich

This event was packed with fascinating insights into the bioeconomy and specific biomaterials. More information will be provided in due course. Thanks to the Norwich Science Festival for sponsoring the venue and to Enabling Project for sponsoring the refreshments.

Bioladies Event with NMA: Natural Materials Innovation Conference – Thursday 10 October, Stoke-on-Trent

The Bioladies Network worked with the Natural Materials Association and  Staffs Chamber of Commerce to assemble a group of experts to share knowledge and expertise on the use of natural materials in a range of applications. including packaging and construction. The event was attended by around 50 companies interested in the sustainability agenda.

Bioladies Iris Anderson and Josie Morris spoke at the event. Dr Chris Holland  covered biomimicry, an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The event proved very popular and some of those attending joined  the network.

Bioladies Networking Event following: Advancing the UK bioeconomy – Tuesday 2 July 2019, Norwich

This event was held at the John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich Research Park, NR4 7UH. The Bioladies networking event took place after the workshop on advancing the UK bioeconomy organised by the EU project Biovoices.

Thanks to Collison&Associates  who sponsored the event and supplied Norfolk strawberries picked that morning and cream. One of the participants said: ‘Lovely to see you again this afternoon at the Bioladies networking event, which was really great and I hope will lead to some really useful outcomes for us all.’

We hope to have another event in Norwich around October and will be providing more information on this as soon as we can. Please let us know if this would be of interest to you.

Bioladies Network Catch up – Thursday 27 June 2019, central London 

This catch up was in the King’s Cross area. We met up for some dinner and to discuss our current projects and find out what is happening.

Bioladies Network & Opencell Event: Focus on Biomaterials – Thursday 2 May

The latest Bioladies event was at the OpenCell studios in London. We had 3 presentations on very different topics. First, Dr Thomas Meany of OpenCell told us about the venue – an affordable place dedicated to co-working and lab space set up to nurture biotechnology start-ups in the early stages of business.

This was followed by Dr Carmen Hijosa, founder of Ananas Anam, who spoke about her journey to inventing Pinãtex – a non-woven material (sometimes seen as a leather substitute) made from pineapple leaves. The 10+ years of R&D has paid off and Pinãtex has been used in collections by fashion brands Hugo Boss and most recently H&M in their conscious collection. In sustainability terms, Pinãtex production covers a lot of environmental and social bases. The feedstock (pineapple leaves) is a byproduct of the agricultural industry, and the work to process the leaves provides another income stream for pineapple farmers. Carmen’s presentation can be seen here.

Dr Brenda Parker and Shneel Malik from UCL provided an overview of their current research project. This is a solution for small scale artisans in developing countries who use textile or bangle (bracelet) dyes in their business to treat their wastewater at a local level. Without access to central water treatment infrastructure, dye effluent runs off into the local waterways. The solution is a series of interlocking wall tiles. These contain ridges which can be coated with microalgae hydrogel, which binds heavy metals found in the effluent as wastewater is run through it. The concept recently won the A/D/O Water Futures Design Challenge award; hopefully a pilot won’t be too far away.

To finish, Iris Anderson gave an update on happenings in the bioeconomy and the value of networking. Attendees chatted over drinks and nibbles courtesy of the Felix Project, a London charity which takes food waste from retailers and restaurants and redistributes to charity and those in need. Volunteers for the Felix Project are always appreciated!

(written by Biolady Kate  Blog: Time to Sew    Instagram: @Timetosew 

Bioladies Event in York – Tuesday 5 February 2019

On 5 February 2019, the Bioladies Network joined with NMA for an event in York to launch the book Designing with Natural Materials which was edited by Biolady Angela Morris.

Angela spoke about the amazing properties of natural materials and the content of the book that explores various areas. Keith Spilsbury then spoke eloquently about restoring credibility to natural materials like wool.

 Dr Chris Holland, chair of the NMA then amazed us with examples of biomimicry and Sally Walker of Native Architects rounded up with examples of use of natural materials in construction. 

Iris rounded up with a quick review of EU and UK strategies affecting the bioeconomy.  Then it was over to networking.

Events in 2018

Bioladies Network & Girls in Science present BIOCLUB, York – Wednesday 24 October 2018

Bioladies Network teamed up with Girls in Science for a splendid event in York on 24 October. The event started early with the first part focused on personal journeys.

Presentations by Lucie Pfaltzgraff, consultant at NNFCC  and Rebecca Rafferty from Women in Tech set the scene and Iris introduced the value of networking. We then put this in practice with some networking and refreshments, kindly sponsored by Biovale. By this time the venue was very full – especially of young women!

Sarah Hickingbottom the new CEO of Biovale then gave us a sneak peek at her future plans for Biovale. Dr Chris Holland, from the University of Sheffield then enthralled with his talk on spiders and silk. Dr Catherine Mort stepped in at the last minute to cover for a KTN colleague and gave us her journey as well as hints on how to use KTN services.

Lucy Montgomery form  NNFCC then gave us an overview of European bioprojects and James Newton from Native Architects covered the very broad range of sustainable construction systems and materials.

We all then networked and made contacts. Comments from attendees were very positive, some took to twitter to express their delight in such inspiring speakers and the opportunity to network.

Thank you to Stan Gaskill for the video and photos.

Bioladies Network Event: focus on agritech, London – Wednesday 10 October 2018  

As part of Biology Week, which this year focuses on the biosciences, the Bioladies Network held an event at UCL focusing on agritech and general career advice. Iris started off with a quick talk on the value of networking.

It was fascinating to hear from Dr Gilu George from Cranfield and Jennifer Lewis from Certis and Dr Brenda Parker on their journey to attain various accomplishments and their career moves. Real stories of women who are in science really help young women understand that despite the competing areas of our lives, it is possible to succeed if they choose to follow their STEM ambitions.

All the speakers’ journeys and the progress made by women in different spheres of life are role models for younger women. Feedback from the attendees was that they found the event inspirational and encouraging.

Wednesday 6 June at Grays Court Hotel, York: Bio Perspectives

The event in York held on 6 June surpassed all expectations in various ways. The venue, and sponsors, Gray’s Court Hotel was superlative and all the speakers brought fresh insight on their chosen subject.

Iris, the founder of the Bioladies Network did some quick pointers on the value of networking. Dr Chris Holland from Sheffield University was spellbinding on the fascinating world of spiders, their silk and the lessons we can all learn from biomimicry. Dr John Williams gave an insight into what investors look for and some practical advice on business plans and how to pitch. Christine Geddes gave a quick overview of ERDF funding available for those in the area and then Paula Widdowson amazed us with her career journey and ways of encouraging sustainability.

 We then had time to share a drink, sponsored by KPMG, and network. Feedback from the 40 attendees was very positive and they saw the benefits from attending the event as varied, ranging from simply networking, to finding a mentor, finding new clients, learning about a new subject in the wider bioeconomy and getting to know people in technical roles. The Network will be returning to York with more events.

Events in 2017

Monday 11 December 2017 at SCI: Science & Industry

It was snowing and very cold on Monday 11 December, but a number of intrepid ladies braved the elements and attended the Network Event. They were rewarded with some excellent presentations and a chance to network in the sumptuous surroundings of the SCI Council room, kindly sponsored by the SCI, and refreshments sponsored by Dr John Williams of S’Investec.

Karen Hobbs gave us an overview of the work of SCI. Some of our bioladies are members already.

Josie Morris, the Managing Director of Woolcool,  gave us a thought provoking presentation on the ethos and culture of Woolcool and also the sustainable credentials of the packaging they produce.

We then had  Dr Liliya Serazetdinova, Knowledge Transfer Manager , Agri-Food  give us a run through of Innovate UK work and all the possible grants and networking available through them.

Finally, we had a chance to network over some snacks and drinks, this always proves very popular and we had many interesting conversations.

Wednesday 22 November 2017 at LCCC: Focus on Bioenergy/Waste

This event was sponsored by the LCCC Ltd.  Iris delivered a presentation about the importance of the bioeconomy and the role women play in it. She also gave a brief summary of the ResUrbis project and BBIA’s role in it.

This was followed by three presentations. Firstly Ruth Herbert from LCCC explained the CFD and Capacity Market schemes which became fully operational in 2016/17 in support of the electricity market objectives set by the government and the recent auction and prices of Contracts for Difference. Ausilio Bauen of E4Tech gave an interesting overview of the current state of the bioeconomy.

Dr. Mairi J. Black from UCL and LCA Works gave a perspective on Managing Carbon. This featured work being carried out by Project Drawdown (, which model 100 of the most substantive existing solutions to address climate change. This prompted a lively discussion on the significant role that Gender is seen to play through targeting family planning and the education of girls, as well as the requirements for energy and food provision, and land use.

Tuesday 16 May 2017 at ARUP: Exploring the Bioeconomy

At this event, Agnieszka spoke about Arup’s commitment to a circular economy – as expressed in the words of Gregory Hodkinson, Arup’s Global Chairman, “Arup is in this for the long haul, because, even if it takes a generational shift to get there, the direction of travel represents a far better future for our shared society.”

Iris delivered a presentation about the importance of the bioeconomy to global development and the role women play in it. This was followed by two presentations of the “case studies”, with Carmen Hijosa talking about her journey from leather to pineapple-waste based novel material Pinatex and Alistair Law presenting how Arup’s Living Wall helps to “green” the construction sites.

Some of the Arup’s commercial and research projects relating to the bioeconomy were exhibited and catalysed conversations and networking throughout the rest of the evening.