Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


EuroBioForum Sows the Seeds for Future Life Sciences Initiatives in Europe

A meeting of researchers, administrators and funding agencies has laid the foundations for a key part of Europe's future research strategy in the life sciences.

The EuroBioForum conference in Lisbon, Portugal on 6 and 7 December, organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Commission (EC), with support from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), aimed to bring together researchers and funders to begin the process of establishing ways to create and finance cross-border partnerships in six areas of the life sciences considered to be future research priorities.

Dr Wouter Spek explained the rationale behind EuroBioForum and its parent body, EuroBioFund, of which Dr Spek is director. "This is an initiative of ESF and the EC to initiate and facilitate strategic alliances between public and private sponsors of selected research themes. There is a gap between finance and research and this is one of the main drivers for the establishment of EuroBioFund. We need to cross-link research and finance networks."

The Lisbon meeting was the second EuroBioForum meeting to date. And, as acknowledged by Dr John Marks, chief executive of the ESF, "This is an experiment in a way of defining large-scale science in the life sciences."

During the conference, the six research consortia presented their pioneering research programmes on topics ranging from using systems biology to combat metabolic syndrome, to developing new methods to study brain disorders including addiction, depression and schizophrenia.

One consortium led by Dr. Alain Tedgui of INSERM is proposing to establish a European Vascular Biology Institute (EVBI) - a 'virtual' organisation harnessing expertise across Europe in all aspects of vascular biology in an effort to come up with innovative ways to tackle vascular disease.

"We have accumulated a lot of new information about this complex disease and what we need to do is integrate all this knowledge," Dr. Tedgui said. "Our vision is for a consortium of academic institutions, research and health non-profit bodies and a public-private partnership. We want to pull together all the excellent groups we have that are distributed between several countries."

Another consortium is led by Dr. Bart Sangster, a retired public health expert and former Senior Vice-President of Safety and Environmental Assurance at Unilever, and Professor Jos Kleinjans of Maastricht University in The Netherlands. They have proposed a programme called ASAT - Assuring Safety without Animal Testing. The aim is to take a radical approach towards assessing the risk to human health of chemicals using new advances in science and technology. In this way it might be possible to drastically reduce the numbers of animals used in toxicology tests - around 1 million each year in the EU. Dr. Sangster remarked that "We think that in the future with huge effort and concerted action we can reduce that number considerably".

Prof. José Mariano Gago, the Portugese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education was a keynote speaker at the meeting. He told participants at the conference that it is crucial that any new initiative for collaborative ventures will not replicate existing alliances.

"Across Europe there are a number of organisations in the life sciences - big laboratories doing collaborative, internationally funded work - and it is important that there is clarification between the roles of these institutions," Prof. Gago said. "When people speak about new initiatives in the life sciences, one question that naturally arises is 'what are the other organisations that already exist doing in this area?' From the point of view of governments this is a question that needs to be addressed."

Dr. Patrik Kolar, head of the Genomics and Systems Biology unit of the European Commission's Research Directorate, told the meeting that EuroBioForum was an important way to choose the strategic direction of research in Europe to ensure minimal duplication of effort and reduced fragmentation of research. The EU's Framework research programme encouraged co-operation, Dr Kolar said, "and EuroBioForum is an important part of this."

Thomas Lau | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Seeking balanced networks: how neurons adjust their proteins during homeostatic scaling.

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

More VideoLinks >>>