LIAR’s deep synergistic interdisciplinary approach fertilizes knowledge transfer between partners, comprised of four universities (UNEW, UWE, CSIC, UNITN), and two SMEs (EXP, LSG).

LIAR partners have broad experience in developing projects in ambitious, cross- (between established disciplines), multi- (between a range of knowledge sets) and inter- (between established subjects) disciplinary partnerships, across the (/design and science) spectrum from design to science.

For example, CSIC has broad and deep experience in biotechnology, systems and synthetic biology, UWE collaborates in experimental contexts across arts and unconventional computing, UNITN extensively works at the intersections of design and biotechnology and UNEW leads international art and science collaborations. SME partners, LSG and EXP, also operate at the interface between science and design. In addition to having a breadth of knowledge and skills, LIAR partners also have deep expertise in specific fields including: synthetic biology, unconventional computing, metabolic mapping, biotechnology, algaeponics, architectural design, bio-energy, robotics, distributed sensing, decentralised computing, control theory and bio-inspired computing.

Furthermore, LIAR is consulting with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the European Space Agency, as well as larger companies Arup and IBM, that encourage high-risk explorations in building design.


University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (UNEW)

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
Institute for Sustainability

The University of Newcastle, UK (UNEW) is a Russell Group university that has a constitutional commitment and an international reputation in the field of urban sustainability. The university’s commitment to smart and future cities made it home to the Institute for Sustainability; established to develop and strengthen real world relationships which support regional, national and international interdisciplinary research in sustainable practice.

At the heart of UNEW’s agenda is extensive cross-faculty collaboration that seeks new solutions for high-risk global challenges. UNEW draws widely upon its areas of established research excellence and the data infrastructures produced by smart cities initiatives that enhance urban civic experience through the incorporation of new technologies into our living spaces.

Within the context of exploring our urban futures, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape established a new field of Experimental Architecture that looks for new paradigms for sustainable urban practices through: modelling, prototyping, designing installations and by trialling cutting edge technologies. One focus is on Programmable Materials and their potential in generating urban forms both architecturally and agriculturally. The pedagogy of active research and experimentation aims to challenge architectural mores and practices at a time when more ecologically and socially enabling ways of working are needed.


University of the West of England
(UWE, Bristol)

Department of Computer Science

Faculty of Environment and Technology
Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC)
Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL)

The Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC) is a newly formed UWE Centre of Excellence (CoE), which specialises in waste and wastewater utilisation, as a source of bioenergy, for practical applications and in ultra-low-power electronics and smart energy harvesting. ‘Bioenergy’ is understood differently in various contexts; the most common being associated with heat and gas extraction as well as biogas and biofuel production. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) utilise the natural biodegradation ability of live microorganisms, and exploits it to generate electricity from waste directly, at ambient temperature and pressure, and without any other energy input. UWE has received funding from a multitude of foundations for various research projects, addressing the subject of biodegradable smart materials for decomposing MFCs and biodegrading robots.

The Bristol BioEnergy Centre sits within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), which has a mission of understanding the science, engineering and social role of robotics and self-sustainable systems. Their aim is to create autonomous devices capable of working independently, with each other, or with us in a human society. The BRL is an interdisciplinary venture drawing on robotics (UWE), electrical engineering (UWE), applied biological sciences (UWE), mechanical engineering (UoB), computer science (UWE and UoB), psychology (UoB), cognitive science (UoB), sociology (UoB) and anthropology (UoB).

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is a joint venture between the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), and the University of Bristol. Currently BRL is not a legal entity but all staff working on this project will be employees of UWE and all of the BRL allocated technical work specified will be carried out at the BRL site.


Spanish National Research Council / Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)

The Biological Research Centre (CIBCSIC)
Department of Environmental Biology

The Biological Research Centre (CIB) is a public funded national research institute that belongs to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The CIB is one of the best equipped research institutes for developing projects on Biotechnology and Molecular Microbiology in Spain. Available facilities at CIB as central services are: automatic DNA sequencing, quantitative RTPCR, DNA chip analysis platform, oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis, protein chemistry (protein sequencing, proteomics, spectroscopy, NMR, analytical ultracentrifugation, crystallization), chromatographic analyses (HPLC, GCMS), microscopy (electronic, confocal), fermentation, bioinformatics.

The Environmental Biotechnology group is part of the Department of Environmental Biology; one of the largest groups at the Institute, supported by the scientific contributions of three staff researchers, several postdocs, students and technicians. The group was created more than 15 years ago to explore and exploit the bacterial capabilities for degrading pollutants in order to contribute to planet sustainability. Since 2004, the group extended its interest on the metabolism of bacterial bio-polyesters.

CIBCSIC contributes to the LIAR project with expertise in P. putida, E. coli and Cyanobacteria, ranging from metabolic modelling, to metabolic engineering, and Synthetic Biology.


LIQUIFER Systems Group (LSG)

LIQUIFER Systems Group GmbH (LSG) is an SME and was established in 2004 with the objective of creating a multidisciplinary task force that can design and develop architectural and engineering systems for terrestrial and space applications. LSG has gained experience in this area with contracts by the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Framework Programme, the Austrian Science Fund and the European Industry. LSG combines a wide range of expertise within one team and covers fields from architecture and engineering, robotics through to human factors and science (geology and biology). The composition of the company provides a unique environment for innovative research and product development.



Explora Biotech is a privately owned SME established in 2006 in Rome by a pool of young researchers with support of the French seed capital organization INVENT SaS. EXPLORA is committed to the development of enabling technologies for biological engineering. Its mission is to develop a comprehensive bioengineering platform to unlock the full potential of forward biological engineering. Our vision is to move from “design-fabricate-test-simulate” paradigm to “design-simulate-fabricate-test” iterative approach in order to unlock the full potential of synthetic biology.

Within the framework of LIAR, Explora will leverage its competence in biological system characterization and modelling to aid the design and optimization of the modular bioreactor-wall.


University of Trento / University Degli Studi di Trento (UNITN)

Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO)

University of Trento (UNITN), with its 13 Departments, 6 research centres and about 600 faculty members, is ranked in national and international classifications as one of the top Italian universities. UNITN excels in the quality and quantity of international relations; participating in more than 420 ongoing study and research agreements with universities in Europe and the world.

The Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO) is the new initiative in molecular medicine and biotechnology within UNITN. CIBIO promotes the idea of merging the classical cellular and molecular biology perspective with the new powerful approaches made available by systems and synthetic biology, giving also strong emphasis on integration with chemistry, physics, informatics, mathematics, and engineering.

The centre has recently grown to 24 laboratories with research focussing on four major research programs including, Cancer Biology & Genomics, Cell & Molecular Biology, Microbiology & Synthetic Biology, and Neurobiology & Development. The recently established Laboratory for Artificial Biology at CIBIO will be the main contributor to the LIAR project.