The European Commission today announces the creation of an annual funders’ forum to join European forces in the funding of life sciences. Life sciences comprise research which deals with all forms of organisms, like plants, animals and human beings. With about €30 billion invested annually in Europe, industry and public funding bodies like the national research councils or international research organisations put major funds into research and technological development in the areas of biotechnology, genomics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food processing. But, a coordination of these activities is still lacking at a European level to ensure the creation of a European Research Area for the life sciences. Today in Brussels for the first time, policy makers, directors of national and international research councils, scientists of leading European academic institutes, representatives of the European Parliament and industry and enterprise organisations are gathered at a meeting organised by the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission to explore opportunities for European synergies to contribute to the creation of a European Research Area in the life sciences.
Europe’s total investment in life sciences research amounts to about €30 billion per year, which is roughly on equal terms with the United States. But, with 25 national research policies and a joint EU one, research funding in the EU is spent in a much more fragmented manner than in the US. Also, EU budgeted research funds account for only 5 % of the total expenditure on research and technological development in Europe. Most of the research funding is provided by the Member States, industry and international research, and it is therefore important to bring all these funding organisations together to have a coordinated life sciences funding approach.
Basic research in life sciences
Wappelhorst Michael H. | alfa
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