There has been a sharp decline in plant biotechnology activities in Europe over the past 8 years: most Europeans favour medical applications of biotechnology, many remain sceptical of agricultural and food-related biotech, the academic sector and plant bi otechnology industry severely curtailed biotechnology field research programmes in the EU in favour of third country trials. Establishing a European Plant Genomics and Biotechnology Platform, PGBTP, involving key stakeholders from academia, industry, the EU, Member States and citizens' representatives will play a key role in addressing societal concerns about plant biotechnology. It aims to develop policy options on plants for healthy lifestyles and for sustainable development to drive the European plant science R&D sector towards achieving the Lisbon Summit objective, for Europe to be "the most competitive knowledge based economy in the world by 2010". The SSA will fund over 32 months the establishment and work of the TP by i) bringing together all s takeholders with a clear interest in constructive dialogue on research and application of plant genomics and biotechnology; ii) using the Vision Paper developed by senior scientists from academia, industry and the Commission, to develop a Strategic Resea rch Agenda leading to 2025 and a detailed Action Plan of specific recommendations up to 2010. The TP will work within established EU policy with respect to the Framework Programmes and Food Quality and Safety Priorities. Then iii) "mirror" groups of key p olicy makers in the Member States, Commission and European Parliament, will participate in the TP to fine tune the work and publish the Plant Genomics and Biotechnology Action Plan 2010. While publication will mark completion of work funded by the SSA, it will be vital to improve the TP network, monitor progress, revise and update policy recommendations in future years.
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