Maggie Smallwood - BioVale

BioVale companies focus on innovation to benefit society, for instance how to make agro-food residues into food, packaging, fertilizers. Impossible without BBI JU support!

Maggie took a degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology as a mature student at the University of Leeds in the UK, followed by a PhD in Plant Science. She worked as Research Manager at a spin-out company in the early nineties and then joined the University of York to develop and manage large strategic research collaborations with industry focused on high-value compounds from plants. She helped conceive and manage a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that was successful in developing a variety of the medicinal plant, Artemisia annua that is now used in production of artemisinin for treating malaria in the developing world.

In 2014 Maggie joined with colleagues in industry, local government and academia to start the BioVale Innovation Cluster and was appointed as the CEO. This promotes Yorkshire and the Humber as a thriving centre of successful innovation for the bioeconomy and helps regional enterprise profit from the valuable business opportunities in this high growth sector. The cluster has a focus on value from biowastes and by-products of agri-food supply chains, high-value chemicals and advanced fuels from plants and microbes and fosters smart collaboration between agri-technology and industrial biotechnology.

Bioeconomy projects

BioVale is a partner in the BBI JU project ‘AgriMax’ and is responsible for the dissemination, communication and business model development aspects of the project.

In Europe, around 90 million tonnes of food and 700 million tonnes of crop are wasted every year. Agrimax is an EU-funded project that is developing and demonstrating the production of multiple, high-value products from crop and food-processing waste. The project aims to maximise the EU’s sustainability, while providing new bio-based compounds for the food, packaging and farming sectors.

Agrimax will develop two pilot processing plants and use them to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of extracting high-value compounds from agricultural and food processing waste. By applying them sequentially, Agrimax will produce a cascade of bio-based compounds with high-value applications, such as:

  • Packaging (bio-polymers, bio-composites, bio-based coatings, active packaging, stabilising agents)
  • Food (additives, ingredients, natural flavourings, edible coatings, microbial growth media)
  • Agricultural Materials (biodegradable pots, mulching films, bio-fertilisers).

By reducing waste and our dependence on fossil-fuels, Agrimax will help to maximise the EU’s sustainability, while creating new growth and jobs. End users will test these products to validate their cost effectiveness and performance. Any remaining biomass will be used for biogas or returned to the land for soil enrichment.