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BUILDING UP MODERN BIOTECHNOLOGIES FOR AGRICULTURE

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New and improved biotechnology research centre

Through new infrastructure and improved research capacity, the Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences (BCAS) has become an eastern European regional biotechnology hub.

Food and Natural Resources

Considered a leading research institution in eastern Europe, the Czech Republic’s BCAS has recently enjoyed an impressive upgrade to its facilities and capabilities. This has been achieved under the EU-funded project MOBITAG (Building up modern biotechnologies for agriculture), which brought the institution much closer to the European Research Area (ERA). The project worked on enhancing the research potential of BCAS to enable the development and deployment of new biotechnologies and research capabilities. To achieve this, BCAS hired seven researchers, improved two of its laboratories, acquired new instruments and software, and provided project management training. Moreover, the project provided training to European researchers at BCAS and invited a host of European scientists to stay on the premises to promote knowledge sharing. This was coupled with researcher mobility initiatives, lectures by local and foreign experts, and sending delegations abroad. One noteworthy project achievement involved the publication of a document on genetically modified crops that was distributed to policymakers, schools and NGOs. Another was the establishment of new laboratories to develop bioagents for insect pest control. Another major improvement to BCAS is a new office to manage and oversee EU-funded and other multi-institute projects. MOBITAG also organised and oversaw two successful international meetings on relevant research topics. The improvements set the stage for BCAS to investigate four important research areas. Advances in genome analysis, exploitation of natural compounds, safety aspects of genetically modified organisms and interspecies gene transfer will have a major impact on many industries. With its new infrastructure, enhanced staff experience and better management, BCAS is set to become instrumental in furthering research regarding agriculture, biotechnology and related fields. From a new vaccine against ticks to the discovery of a fungus that combats certain pests, the impressive work achieved at the Centre promises outstanding socioeconomic benefits. BCAS will undoubtedly contribute to the ERA on a regional scale.

Keywords

Biotechnology, Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences, MOBITAG, agriculture, genetically modified

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