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BIOTECH 2 - Results of the fourth call for proposals

The European Commission, DG XII, has released the results of the fourth and final call for proposals under the specific RTD programme in the field of Biotechnology (BIOTECH II). A total of 154 new projects have been selected for funding, from a total of 572 applications submit...
The European Commission, DG XII, has released the results of the fourth and final call for proposals under the specific RTD programme in the field of Biotechnology (BIOTECH II). A total of 154 new projects have been selected for funding, from a total of 572 applications submitted under this call. These results bring the total number of research projects funded under the BIOTECH programme to 456, representing total expenditure of ECU 533.23 million.

Examples of the projects to be funded include: a new process which uses bacteria to clean polluted soils; a consortium of laboratories which will sequence the Listeria genome; the development of gene therapies for neuro-degenerative diseases; development of vaccines to treat diseases such as asthma and diabetes; finding natural solutions to increase plants' resistance to insects; and studying the transfer of antibiotic genes between bacteria.

This fourth call for proposals was launched in June 1997 (OJ No C 183 of 17.6.1997, p. 8) and closed on 15 October 1997. The newly selected projects will receive funding of ECU 138 million, for research in the following areas:

- Cell factories (23 projects);
- Genome analysis: sequencing (8);
- Plant molecular and cellular biology (1);
- Animal mapping and selection (8);
- Animal models (4);
- Somatic gene therapy (3);
- Cell communication in neuroscience (21);
- Immunological substances (4);
- Transdisease vaccinology (18);
- Structural biology: structure/function relationships (24);
- Structural biology/electronics (1);
- In-vitro pharmaco-toxicology (3);
- Pre-normative research: Biosafety (8);
- Environmental biotechnology (3);
- Biodiversity (6);
- Infrastructures (6);
- Horizontal activities (13).

Twenty-five of the projects selected aim specifically to demonstrate the scientific and economic viability of new concepts in biotechnology, a vital component in the BIOTECH programme. The proportion of industrial participants in the latest projects stands at 16.2%, while the proportion of projects including at least one industrial participant is 65%. These figures are close to the overall average for the BIOTECH II programme as a whole. Participation from SMEs was also encouraging with a total of 101 participating in these new projects, meaning that 40% of projects in this selection round include at least one SME partner.

Source: European Commission, DG XII

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