In the post-genomic era, life sciences and biotechnology have become an essential component of the knowledge-based economy. But they've also undergone a revolution in terms of research approaches, infrastructure, technology developments and costs.The Eur opean Research Area initiative has been launched to address these challenges by combining efforts to provide the critical mass of expertise and resources in a coordinated manner. Realizing the full ERA potential necessitates the involvement of all actors planning and funding research. Unfortunately, the lack of coordination at the European level still constitutes a major obstacle to achieving ERA?s objectives, jeopardizing Europe?s position on the global scene. Against this background new strategies are needed to help match research dynamics and funding opportunities. The EUROBIOFUND project of the ESF aims to create such a mechanism to foster the dialogue and coordination of funding organizations. Annual conferences convening national agencies, inte rgovernmental organizations, private foundations, charities and industry will be organized to facilitate the exchange of information on respective initiatives and priorities and discuss policy issues and scientific developments. Most importantly, researc h ideas providing the European scale and scope, necessitating a trans-national approach, will be presented by scientists and discussed in the form of brokerage events, opening up the possibility of obtaining funding for these projects via a network of Eu ropean funding bodies. The conferences will provide a framework to foster the dialogue between the various bodies funding the life sciences, help achieve better programme and policy coordination and enhance synergies. Hence, EUROBIOFUND will help formulat e answers to some of the numerous challenges faced by the life sciences in Europe and make an essential contribution towards the realization of a single European market for research.
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