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Inventory and analysis of national public policies that stimulate research in life sciences and biotechnology, its exploitation and commercialisation by industry in Europe in the period 2001-2004

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Biotechnology innovation policies across Europe

An EU-funded initiative analysed the different policies and policy instruments that foster biotechnology innovation processes in different European countries. The generated inventory could provide an international framework for implementing innovation indicators in the biotechnology field.

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Biotechnology has received special attention in national innovation policies over the past years. However, the growth of the sector is variable across different countries possibly due to economic or demographic factors, or government policy measures. The EU-funded Biopolis project was designed to provide an up-to-date and detailed overview of national policy instruments, including research funds, in the field of life sciences and biotechnology. Biopolis participants used quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the effectiveness of biotechnology policies by exploring the performance of national biotechnology innovation systems that existed in the period 2001–2004 in European countries. More specifically, project partners focused on the specific configurations of the life sciences and biotechnology policymaking systems, and the research funding as well as the profiles of the European countries with respect to their funding scheme. Central to the success of Biopolis was the availability of comparable data among different countries, providing an accurate overview of biotechnology instruments and funding. However, in countries where data wasn’t available the biotechnology funding represented an underestimate. The Biopolis report provided a broad and up-to-date information base which constitutes an important prerequisite for designing successful innovation policies in biotechnology. Assisted by the participation of non-government biotechnology actors – particularly representatives of the scientific community, industry, consumer and patient groups – the Biopolis overview could pave the way for a new innovation policymaking era in biotechnology.

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