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The consolidation of systems biology research – stimulating the widespread adoption of systems approaches in biomedicine, biotechnology, and agri-food

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Systems biology research in Europe

Understanding biological complexity requires the cooperation of different scientific disciplines. The EU supports the integration of such efforts and envisions a boost in systems biology research in Europe.

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Systems biology is a holistic approach that combines the study of molecules, pathways, cells and entire organisms. In addition, it incorporates the use of modelling approaches and simulation experiments. Collectively, systems biology helps to understand the dynamic interactions between components of a living system, between different organisms and their interaction with the environment. Systems biology approaches are used in various applications of biomedicine, biotechnology and agri-food, for example. To integrate research efforts and funding in Europe, the EU-funded ERASYSBIO+ initiative brought together funding organisations and policymakers. Together, they implemented the transnational funding Systems Biology call ERASysBio+ in 2008. The call attracted over 120 proposal submissions that were evaluated by a peer-reviewed international scientific advisory board. The process resulted in the recommendation of 20 projects for further negotiations, 16 of which received joint funding from the EU and national sources. Funded projects covered a wide range of biological aspects, including development and apoptosis in animals and plants. Details on the scientific content of each project are given on the ERASYSBIO+ website. The progress of the funded projects was evaluated at different meetings, where considerable achievements and perspectives were also demonstrated. In the last meeting in 2013, most studies showed high-quality results and a few were even able to complete the full systems biology circle. Based on their findings and developed technologies, most project-funded consortia moved on to initiate further collaborations, firmly consolidating systems biology research in Europe.

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Systems biology, biomedicine, biotechnology, agri-food

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