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INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Biotechnology


INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Biotechnology

Specific objective for biotechnology

The specific objective of biotechnology research and innovation is to develop competitive, sustainable, safe and innovative industrial products and processes and contribute as an innovation driver in a number of European sectors, like agriculture, forestry, food, energy, chemical and health as well as the knowledge-based bioeconomy.
A strong scientific, technological and innovation base in biotechnology will support European industries securing leadership in this key enabling technology. This position will be further strengthened by integrating the health and safety assessment, the economic and environmental impact of use of the technology and the management aspects of the overall and specific risks in the deployment of biotechnology.

Rationale and Union added value

Powered by the expansion of the knowledge of living systems, biotechnology is set to deliver a stream of new applications and to strengthen the Union's industrial base and its innovation capacity. Examples of the rising importance of biotechnology are in industrial applications including biopharmaceuticals, food and feed production and biochemicals, of which the market share of the latter is estimated to increase by up to 12 % to 20 % of chemical production by 2015. A number of the so-called twelve principles of Green Chemistry are also addressed by biotechnology, due to the selectivity and efficiency of biosystems. The possible economic burdens for Union enterprises can be reduced by harnessing the potential of biotechnology processes and bio-based products to reduce CO2 emissions, estimated to range from between 1 to 2,5 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent per year by 2030.
In Europe's biopharmaceutical sector, already some 20 % of the current medicines are derived from biotechnology, with up to 50 % of new medicines. Biotechnology will play a major role in the transition towards a bio-based economy by developing new industrial processes. Biotechnology also opens new avenues for the development of a sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry and for exploiting the huge potential of marine resources for producing innovative industrial, health, energy, chemical and environmental applications. The emerging sector of marine (blue) biotechnology has been predicted to grow by 10 % a year.
Other key sources of innovation are at the interface between biotechnology and other enabling and converging technologies, in particular nanotechnologies and ICT, with applications such as sensing and diagnosing.

Broad lines of the activities

(a) Boosting cutting-edge biotechnologies as a future innovation driver

Development of emerging technology areas such as synthetic biology, bioinformatics and systems biology, which hold great promise for innovative products and technologies and completely novel applications.

(b) Biotechnology-based industrial products and processes

Developing industrial biotechnology and industrial scale bio-process design for competitive industrial products and sustainable processes (e.g. chemical, health, mining, energy, pulp and paper, fibre-based products and wood, textile, starch, food processing) and its environmental and health dimensions, including clean-up operations.

(c) Innovative and competitive platform technologies

Development of platform technologies (e.g. genomics, meta-genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, molecular tools, expression systems, phenotyping platforms and cell-based platforms) to enhance leadership and competitive advantage in a wide number of sectors that have economic impacts.