The CelESTial project is a partnership between the Estonian Centre for Synthetic Biology (ECSB) at the University of Tartu and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU, Biosustain) at the Technical University of Denmark. Our main aim is to create a research and development platform for the sustainable bio-manufacturing of high-value chemicals and pharmaceuticals using cell factories.

We will create a joint research and development platform in collaboration with DTU Biosustain and its broad foundry unitiLOOP for the sustainable bio-manufacturing of high value chemicals and pharmaceuticals using cell factories. The platform, which relies on the concerted action of both centres, and their industrial partners, will accelerate the transition from proof-of-concept science to commercial production via a system of iterative cycles. The project also aims to enhance regional development by extending the innovative biosustainable research and industrial practices of Denmark and Southern Sweden into the greater Nordic and Baltic Sea region.

The ECSB was founded in the spring of 2016 by combining the research efforts of the Institute of Technology at the University of Tartu with a collection of other Estonian laboratories that conduct research related to synthetic biology. The majority of the research groups at the Institute of Technology have been established within the past 15 years with the help of highly competitive foreign grants and fellowships, including private research funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (United States) and The Wellcome Trust (UK), and public funding from a number of H2020 projects (ERC, Centres of Excellence). The ECSB was founded and is currently based at the Institute of Technology, yet it also acts as an umbrella organization for a consortium of synthetic biology labs in Estonia. Its greater aim, however, is to develop a research and technology development center of its own.

The CelESTialcampus will begin with three buildings depicted in the figure below. In addition, the full CelESTial ecosystem, the Estonian Centre for Synthetic Biology and Biosustainability (ECSBB) covers both the campus, and other pilot units and organisations. The vision depicted below of the CelESTial campus by 2020 includes the central building block of ECSB with its various units. The two building units of ECSB partners are on the sides: Icosagen Cell Factory and the start-up incubator Tartu Science Park.