Ioannis Economidis
Economidis, Ioannis
European Comission
Brussels, Belgium
Title: Funding opportunities for Systems and Synthetic Biology in the current Framework Programme
Authors: Ioannis Economidis,
Abstract:Within the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013) Systems and Synthetic Biology have a prominent position in two thematic areas: Health and the Knowledge Based Bioeconomy. Concerning "Health" and under the activity on "Biotechnology, generic tools and medical technologies for human health" Bioinformatics and Systems Biology as well as other -omics are part of the high-throughput research aiming at developing and validating the necessary tools and technologies that will make possible the production of new knowledge and its translation into practical applications in the area of health and medicine. In "Translating research for human health" Systems Biology focuses on multidisciplinary research which integrates a wide variety of biological data to develop and apply system approaches for understanding and modelling biological processes in all relevant organisms and at all levels of organisation.

Building a European "Knowledge Based Bio-Economy" is a multidisciplinary process bringing together science, industry and other stakeholders, to exploit new and emerging research opportunities that address social, environmental and economic challenges. In the activity "Sustainable production and management of biological resources from land, forest, and aquatic environments" Systems Biology is part of the enabling and emerging technologies for developing new tools. Concerning the activity on "Fork to farm: Food (including seafood), health and well being" Systems Biology plays a role for understanding beneficial and harmful dietary factors. Finally, in the activity "Life sciences, biotechnology and bio-chemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes" Systems Biology is part of the emerging technologies (like bioinformatics, nano-biotechnology and synthetic biology), to enrich the biotechnological tools for the development of an industrial biotechnology, sustainable and friendly to the environment. Among these emerging technologies Synthetic Biology plays a prominent role by enabling a rational (engineering) recreation from basic elements of predetermined metabolic and catalytic properties. Synthetic biology may lead to minimal or even totally artificial microorganisms that can be used for microbial production processes with significant advantages in industrial or environmental biotechnology particularly where complex metabolic networks are required. It has become a platform of international discussions and debates on ethical, legal, safety and societal issues.

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