OpenPlant Fund opens to applications for £5000 grants on plant or cell-free synthetic biology

OpenPlant Fund offers £5000 to support open, interdisciplinary and innovative projects to engineer plant biology. Applications are now open until 1 Dec 2016 for projects led from University of Cambridge or Norwich Research Park with external collaborators welcome. For this round applications focused on cell-free synthetic biology are also encouraged.

The aim of the OpenPlant fund is to promote the development of plant Synthetic Biology as an interdisciplinary field and to develop open technologies and responsible innovation in the context of plant Synthetic Biology.

This call is also encouraging applications related to use of cell-free extracts from bacteria, plants, yeast or other organisms to transcribe and translate engineered DNA. Cell-free synthetic biology is gaining popularity for prototyping genetic circuits and metabolic pathways and has many applications from production of biologics to paper-based diagnostic tests and biosensors.

OpenPlant Fund teams facilitate exchange between The University of Cambridge, the John Innes Centre, The Earlham Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory and therefore are led by researchers from these institutions, but are open to all external collaborators.

Download: Poster | Flyer | 2015/16 Report

Apply now >>>

Want to learn more and find collaborators?

Join us at a mixer event at the Panton Arms on 21 November 2016, 18:00-20:00. Great talks from a previous funded project on microfluidics and from the Cambridge spin-off Sphere Fluidics plus an opportunity to pitch your idea or find a team to join!


Applicants should be graduate students or postdoctoral workers at the University of Cambridge, the John Innes Centre or The Sainsbury Laboratory. The team must be interdisciplinary, must contain members from both Norwich and Cambridge and may contain external collaborators of any type. Applicants must have agreement from their research supervisor and cost-code sponsor that the proposed project and management of the allocated funding will fit with their existing work. All proposals must lead to tangible, publicly documented and open outcomes, which could include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Design files and prototype for a hardware project
  • Software development and documentation
  • White paper arising from a workshop
  • Educational resource
  • Synthesis and sharing of useful DNA parts or vectors.

For more information and to apply see the OpenPlant Fund webpage.