Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EuroBioForum Sows the Seeds for Future Life Sciences Initiatives in Europe

13.12.2007
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:
http://www.esf.org/eurobiofund

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>