OpenPlant Fund

The OpenPlant Fund supports institutional exchange, interdisciplinary working and outreach. One or more of these aspects are required for a successful application. Projects receive £4000 over six months, with an additional £1000 for outreach or follow-on work after reporting on their progress. Funds are managed through a cost centre managed by a faculty sponsor, to help manage integration of the project with existing research loads. All outputs of the projects are open and shared. Parallel funding was provided by the Synthetic Biology strategic research initiative at the University of Cambridge. 

The OpenPlant Fund has proved to be a highly effective way of providing important support for independent small projects and promoting valuable new collaborations among young researchers, along with the development and documentation of open source biology,  hardware and bioinstrumentation. To date, over 60 projects have been awarded funding, and in a short period of time, we have seen some notable outcomes. A full list of OpenPlant funded projects can be found below, and documented on the Biomaker website.

Funded OpenPlant projects

December 2017 (projects 50-61)

  • Focus Stacking for Teaching and Publication in Plant Sciences
  • Actin visualization: to disclose mechanisms of host cell reorganisation during interactions with microbes
  • Comparative analysis of cell free and in planta protein synthesis systems
  • Cell-free proteins synthesis as a resource for generating plant proteins
  • R for Proteomics' training proposal
  • Towards an efficient transformation system for legumes
  • Open-Cell: An Open-Source 3D Printable System for High-Throughput Cell-Free Screening
  • Development of open source camera trap powered by plant microbial fuel cell (pMFC)
  • Open Source Resources for Teaching Synthetic Biology in Low-Resource Settings
  • Design of synthetic plant and mammal gene regulatory networks using nonparametric Bayesian approaches
  • Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory Training Workshop and the UK-Africa Food Security Symposium

July 2017 (projects 40-50)

December 2016 (projects 30-39)

January 2016 (projects 17-29)

July 2015 (projects 1-16)

Funded SynBio SRI projects

March 2015

  • Engineering of self­ cloning brewer’s yeast for novel terpene profiles in beer.  
  • 3D printed microscope
  • Interactive web­ based software for genetic circuit design
  • Novel bioluminescent reporters
  • DIY Biolab 
  • Flexible, low cost, live­ cell imaging platform
  • Faster engineering of cyanobacteria
  • Finding new recombinases
  • The Green Mother Machine: A microfluidics device for cyanobacteria

November 2015

  • SynBio Student Society
  • SynBioHub: Patent information system for synthetic biology
  • Synthesis of novel optimised lux reporters for eukaryotic systems
  • CamOptimus: Self-contained user-friendly multi-parameter optimisation platform for non-specialist experimental biologists
  • Reliable IP-free system for inter-chassis transfer of the high molecular weight DNA
  • A piezoelectric bio-platform to image and stimulate cellular interactions
  • Interactive web-based software tool for biological circuit design (Extension plan)
  • Development of a microfluidic device for high-throughput analysis of genetic circuits in plant protoplasts.
  • Bio-Hackathon
  • Low cost solution for high throughput bacterial electrotransformation
  • CELLUWIN: 3D printing for cellulose
  • Organotypic cultures as tools for functional screening of drugs to promote oligodendrocyte differentiation and CNS myelination.

OpenPlant Fund summary (2016)