Intra-CREATE Cities – Selected project: EcoCTs

The EcoCTs team

CNRS@CREATE is pleased to announce, as host institution, the selection of the project “Engineering biology for a circular bioeconomy – Towards urban sustainability: EcoCTs“ as part of the INTRA-CREATE call for projects on “Cities”.

PIs and partners

Project team members

  • Lead PI (1) – Dr Isabelle André (TBI-CNRS);
  • Lead PI (2) – Dr Poh Chueh Loo (NUS);

The partners are CNRS, NUS and ASTAR. The duration of the project is 3 years, and it started in october 2020.

Lead PI (1) – Dr Isabelle André (TBI-CNRS)

Lead PI (2) – Dr Poh Chueh Loo (NUS)



The shift from a petrochemical-based synthesis economy to a sustainable bio-resourced, climate-friendly alternative is a key challenge for the future. Biotechnology offers a plausible means to transform renewable agro-resources to high value bioproducts, achieving a circular bio-economy for urban sustainability. Engineering biology offers a unique pipeline to provide industrial biotechnology a new generation of biocatalysts that will open the way towards an unprecedented era of bio-manufacturing of high value bioproducts. However, the engineering of biocatalysts remains a slow, inefficient and resource intensive process, which has hindered the availability of bioproducts in the market.

This proposal will increase the knowledge-based understanding of biotransformation efficiency, dramatically accelerating the discovery to application pipeline. Specifically, the programme will address three complimentary aspects along the value-chain in a unified and coherent manner, drawing on the existing expertise of the partners:

  • Exploring novel enzyme engineering to create improved enzymatic activities and the spatial structuration of novel synthetic pathways to ensure high efficiency throughput;
  • Developing innovative experimental and computational methods to design and pragmatically optimise metabolic pathways;
  • Integrating experimental and computational methods for bioprocess optimisation.

The use of common biological transformation models throughout will ensure the overall coherence of this systematic programme and lead to increase competitivity of the biotechnology effort in Singapore, moving Singapore towards a leading green low-waste liveable city in a circular bio-economy context.


This research is supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme.

CREATE is an international collaboratory housing research centres set up by top universities. At CREATE, researchers from diverse disciplines and backgrounds work closely together to perform cutting-edge research in strategic areas of interest, for translation into practical applications leading to positive economic and societal outcomes for Singapore. The interdisciplinary research centres at CREATE focus on four areas of interdisciplinary thematic areas of research, namely human systems, energy systems, environmental systems and urban systems. More information on the CREATE programme can be obtained from

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