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 Classroom in Stuttgart with Li-Fi of Fraunhofer HHI opened
03.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

nachricht Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>