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Development and Coordination of Synthetic Biology in the European Research Area

Final Report Summary - ERASYNBIO (Development and Coordination of Synthetic Biology in the European Research Area)

Executive Summary:
ERASynBio was a three-year programme funded under the European Commission ERA-NET scheme in the 7th Framework Programme. ERASynBio brought together 16 funding and/or management organisations from 14 countries plus two observers with important activities in the field of Synthetic Biology.
• ERASynBio managed to implement 2 joint calls in the course of the ERA-NET, both having a volume of 15-16 Mio. € each resulting in 15 funded transnational projects.
• ERASynBio developed and published the first transnational research agenda for Synthetic Biology in Europe.
• ERASynBio integrated the aspects of responsible research and innovation in synthetic biology via calls and networking activities.
• ERASynBio supported the community building of synthetic biologist by implementing interdisciplinary and center workshops and funding twinning activities.
• ERASynBio promoted summer schools in synthetic biology and gave support to student competitions.
• ERASynBio integrated aspects of infrastructure and data management in synthetic biology research agenda.

Project Context and Objectives:
Synthetic biology is an emerging and promising research area with the potential to have a strong impact on innovation and technological progress that is beneficial for the economy and for society as a whole. It is an area at the intersection of engineering, bioscience, chemistry, and information technology. The central idea of ERASynBio was to promote the robust development of synthetic biology by structuring and coordinating national efforts and investment.
ERASynBio was a three-year programme funded under the European Commission ERA-NET scheme in the 7th Framework Programme. ERASynBio brought together 16 funding and/or management organisations from 14 countries plus two observers with important activities in the field of Synthetic Biology.
The main objectives for the course of the project were:
1. Support the emergence of national and European Synthetic Biology programs and funding by avoiding fragmentation of programmes, regulatory framework and policies beforehand with a strategic research agenda
2. Implement transnational funding research and innovation activities
3. Overcome extant fragmentation in European research landscape and strengthen the scientific community
4. Ensure concomitant development of R&I and ELSI agendas, develop recommendations on governance concepts and regulatory models
5. Promote close cooperation between academic partners and partners from the industry increase Europe’s innovation and competitiveness in biotechnology
6. Offer extensive dialogue options and an exchange forum in which stakeholders are encouraged to participate

The objectives are valid for the entire duration of the project with differing intensity. Stakeholders were addressed at both strategic and operational levels and integrated in the tasks in a variable manner.

Project Results:
• ERASynBio managed to implement 2 joint calls in the course of the ERA-NET, both having a volume of 15-16 Mio. € each resulting in 15 funded transnational projects.
• ERASynBio developed and published the first transnational research agenda for Synthetic Biology in Europe.
• ERASynBio integrated the aspects of responsible research and innovation in synthetic biology via calls and networking activities.
• ERASynBio supported the community building of synthetic biologist by implementing interdisciplinary and center workshops and funding twinning activities.
• ERASynBio promoted summer schools in synthetic biology and gave support to student competitions.
• ERASynBio integrated aspects of infrastructure and data management in synthetic biology research agenda.

Potential Impact:
General impacts and building the ERA in synthetic biology stimulating future research by implementing joint funding activities in a synergistic manner (WP6, WP3 and 4);
• consolidating the basis for coordination and development of emerging national programmes in this new interdisciplinary technology as well as seeking complementarities between national activities through the provision of a white paper and linking of the responsible national bodies (WP1);
• building the networks and strengthening the community in Europe through dedicated workshops and conferences and the use of different communication channels (WP1, WP3 and WP7);
• pooling resources by a common concerted approach in the field of governance (WP2), community building (WP3), education and training (WP4) and data and infrastructure (WP5).


Impact on emerging national/regional research programmes
ERASynBio assisted the member states to develop their national communities and programmes in synthetic biology by:
• building national research capacity and expertise by providing recommendations through sharing best practise (WP1) and implementing funding activities (WP6 and partly WP3 and 4);
• avoiding duplication and fragmentation by sharing of information on the national activities of the partners (WP1);
• targeting interdisciplinarity through the joint funding activities (WP6) and dedicated multidisciplinary workshops and meetings (WP3).

Impact on EU policies in synthetic biology
ERASynBio promoted and provided significant and extensive knowledge of various aspects on synthetic biology research in the EU.

Impact on consortium participants and policy makers
Critical mass was achieved through the involvement of all countries, which have significant interest to build together the ERA in synthetic biology in parallel with their respective national research community.

Impact on the scientific community:
ERASynBio improved the situation for researchers in the EU especially through common joint research calls (WP6), networking activities (WP3) and training and education measures (WP4). T

Impact on the public:
The web portal provided an entry section for the interested public and media.

Impact on the industry:
ERASynBio established connections between industry and other stakeholders via the industrial representatives of the advsisory board.


The main dissemination activities of ERASynBio were:
• Concerted effort in the devleopement of the strategic vision including more than 150 scientists
• Web portal as the central entry point
• Participation in iGEM jamboree for promoting synthetic biology
• Communication material like newsletter (470 subscribers), leaflet and roll-ups

List of Websites:
www.erasynbio.eu