Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - FUTURESYSBIO (Tackling the future challenges in Systems Biology)

Executive Summary:
1. To gather and update the research community on the latest developments in Systems Biology.
FutureSysBio arranged ICSB2008 in Gothenburg with 1,050 delegates and in 2010 the 35th FEBS congress was held in Gothenburg where FutureSysBio organized the systems biology talks and was involved in the workshop “Practical Systems Biology”. Moreover the project was represented at ICSB 2010 as well as 2011 where researchers from the partner groups presented their research orally as well as with posters. In Dec 2010 a summarising report from ICSB2010 was published by Partner 2 in the Biotechnology Journal.
2. To inform and guide funding organisations, such as the European Commission services and the national funding bodies and foundations, of potential future directions of Systems Biology and hence possible funding priorities.
ICSB2008 featured “Arenas”, where numerous EC-funded networks were introduced as well as a dedicated session on Systems Biology funding with participants from the EC and several national funding organisations. At ICSB 2011 FutureSysBio was presented with a poster at the “Science arena”. Reports have been produced from both workshops as well as systems biology conferences. Both FutureSysBio partners participated in the preparation of the ISBE proposal for a European systems Biology infrastructure and community their experiences to funding organisations in the process.
3. To inform and guide pharmaceutical and bio-industries in Europe on developments and opportunities in Systems Biology and thereby enable well-informed corporate decisions.
ICSB2008 featured a session on the needs of the pharmaceutical and bio-industries with representatives from several companies. Moreover the topical conference “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology” held in Gothenburg 2010 was dedicated to the impact of systems biology on industrial biotechnology, sustainable production of chemicals and production of biofuels.
A workshop has been held on what is needed to apply Systems Biology in the clinic. This was a successful workshop that provided future guidance for industries. In connection to the “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology” the workshop “What is needed for employing Systems Biology in bioengineering” was held with representatives from Industry, academia and funding agencies.
4. To inform and guide higher education and education funders of challenges and opportunities in interdisciplinary education and training.
The workshop “Challenges in future education and training.” was held in conjunction to ICSB 2011 in Mannheim. Leading European scientists and teachers were invited to hold a short presentation about their experiences in systems biology education as well as a round table discussion. It was decided to form a network of education performers in systems biology, an activity that will be persued within ISBE and the ERASysApp ERANet.
5. To inform the general public, policy makers, and media of opportunities, challenges and facts in Systems Biology.
In connection to the “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology”a press conference was held, leading to an article in the Swedish newspaper Dagens nyheter Aug 29, 2010. The same newspaper also published an article about Partner 2 and systems biology, in June 2010. In conjunction with the preparation of the ERSysApp proposal both partners communicated with representatives of the region Västra Götaland, which resulted in their involvement in the ERANet and first steps to integrate systems biology in certain aspects of regional policy and development.


Project Context and Objectives:
The emerging field of Systems Biology is anticipated to have a major impact on the biosciences in the beginning of the 21st century. It is generally expected that the use of computational reconstructions of biological systems will result in a new level of understanding: the elucidation of the basic and presumably conserved “design” principles of bio-molecular systems. Thus Systems Biology will move biology from a phenomenological to a predictive science. The ability to predict the systems behaviour should allow to accurately foresee the outcome of therapeutic interventions with individual patients or to optimise industrial bioprocesses precisely. Therefore, the results of Systems Biology are expected to have major impact on both medicine and industrial production. Developing the research field and ensuring exploitation of its results therefore is of major social and economic interest for the European Union.
There are a number of challenges that possibly restrict progress in Systems Biology such that it cannot fulfil its promises. FutureSysBio aims at contributing to overcoming those constraints. Specifically, the objectives are:
1. To gather and update the research community on the latest developments in Systems Biology. This will be achieved by organising the International Conference on Systems Biology ICSB in Europe in the years 2008 (Gothenburg) and the 35th FEBS congress, FEBS2010 (Gothenburg) as well as involvement in ICSB 2010 and 2011. Expected results: Two large international conferences (about 1,000 delegates each) with delegates representing all stakeholders and specific activities ensuring interaction between academic and industrial researchers, funding organisations, the public, the media, and other special-interest organisations. These conferences are expected to provide strong stimulation for the research field in Europe.
2. To inform and guide funding organisations, such as the European Commission services and the national funding bodies and foundations, of potential future directions of Systems Biology and hence possible funding priorities. This will be achieved via the ICSB conferences as well as a series of high-level expert workshops that will deliver reports on well-defined topics. These activities will build on, among others, a recent ESF Forward Look on Systems Biology and be coordinated with those activities ongoing in the ERASysBio project. Expected results: Advice and guidance for funding organisations based on discussions of high-level representatives of the research community and stakeholders.
3. To inform and guide pharmaceutical and bio-industries in Europe on developments and opportunities in Systems Biology and thereby enable well-informed corporate decisions. This will be achieved via dedicated activities at ICSBs, high-level expert workshops, and dedicated topical conferences. Expected results: Interaction with European pharma- and bio-industries via ICSBs, workshops and dedicated topical conferences to inform those industries about opportunities in Systems Biology.
4. To inform and guide higher education and education funders of challenges and opportunities in interdisciplinary education and training. This will be achieved via dedicated activities at ICSBs as well as the high-level expert workshops. Expected results: FutureSysBio envisages promoting interdisciplinary education and training such that the relevant organisations may educate future generation biologists and medical scientists to be trained in more than one of the traditional disciplines.
5. To inform the general public, policy makers, and media of opportunities, challenges and facts in Systems Biology. This will be achieved by dedicated activities at ICSBs, through the project website, and open activities such as hearings and panel discussions. Expected results: Interaction of leading Systems Biology scientists with the general public, etc. to objectively inform on opportunities, challenges and facts in Systems Biology.

Project Results:
1.To gather and update the research community on the latest developments in Systems Biology.
FutureSysBio arranged ICSB2008 in Gothenburg with 1,050 delegates. Partner 1 chaired the organising committee and Partner 2 participated in the committee. Partner 1 had the main responsibility for the scientific programme of the meeting. The programme constitutes D1. Feedback from delegates testifies that the programme was of outstanding quality, highlighting the potential of integrating experimentation and modelling to address pertinent research questions in biology and medicine. Also the balance between different sub-disciplines within the programme was appreciated.
Partner 1 also arranged the Arena programme at ICSB2008 (D2). Arenas were defined as a small stand with a poster and other promotion material representing local centres, EC-funded projects, other types of consortia or non-commercial activities. This Arena activity was a major success and has been repeated at ICSB2011 in Heidelberg. Some 40 Arenas were presented and have greatly contributed to interaction and integration of different initiatives in the field. (Conference programme outline is attached to the report)
Partner 1 chaired the organising committee for the 2010 FEBS Congress in Göteborg and partner 2 participated in the committee. Partner 1 had the main responsibility for the scientific programme (D4) with more than 120 invited speakers, including four Nobel laureates. The programme had significant Systems Biology components in many of the sessions and a workshop on Practical Systems Biology . The Congress was attended by 1,600 delegates and greatly contributed to spreading the Systems Biology approach among biochemists and molecular biologists. (Conference programme outline is attached to the report)

FutureSysBio was represented at ICSB 2010 as well as 2011 where researchers from the partner groups presented their research orally as well as with posters. In Dec 2010 a summarising report from ICSB2010 was published by Partner 2 in the Biotechnology Journal (Biotechnol. J. 2010, 5, 1257–1260 DOI 10.1002/biot.201000390). (Conference programme outlines are attached to the report)

2. To inform and guide funding organisations, such as the European Commission services and the national funding bodies and foundations, of potential future directions of Systems Biology and hence possible funding priorities.

FutureSysBio was involved in organizing a very successful International Conference on Systems Biology 2008, with about 2000 participants. There was a very high level of the scientific program with a range of keynote speakers from Europe, USA and Asia. The conference was organized with a plenary session in the morning where there were 4 general lectures that introduced four different topics. The plenary session was then followed by four parallel sessions, so-called dedicated sessions where there were two invited speakers and 6 speakers selected from poster abstracts. Poster session/ exhibition/arenas were combined with lunch, and in the early afternoon there was organized specific workshops. Later in the afternoon there was again a plenary session with fours speakers. Among the workshops there was organized one on Funding needs and opportunities. At the workshop there was presentations from funding organizations in UK, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland as well as from the EU and European Science Foundation. The workshop gave a very clear demonstration of the increasing focus at funding bodies on systems biology. The workshop involved a panel discussion. (Conference programme outline is attached to the report)
A workshop on the topic “What is needed for systems biology to enter the clinic” was organized in November 2008 in Gothenburg. The workshop had about 20 participants from universities, hospitals and companies. About half of the participants were young researchers that were selected based on application (more than 60 applicants came in). At the workshop there was organized different discussions in groups on how systems biology can contribute better to advance the medical health care system in Europe, and some of the barriers were discussed. The outcomes of the discussions in the workshop were summarized in discussions with the Swedish funding agency Vetenskapsrådet. This has resulted in opening of a call for establishing a Swedish infrastructure on Systems Biology. This is to be interacting with Infrastructure Systems Biology Europe (ISBE), which has been funded in an initial phase. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)
A four hour workshop was held in connection with the conference “Industrial Systems Biology: Sustainable production of fuels and chemicals” held at Chalmers August 18-20, 2010. Focus of the workshop was twofold: 1) how will systems biology impact industrial biotechnology in the future; and 2) what is the Swedish perspective of industrial biotechnology. Sweden is a country that is characterized by having a large production industry, and of relevance for industrial biotechnology there are large industries in the following sectors: chemicals, forestry, pulp and paper and food. Besides this Sweden has access to fairly cheap hydro-electricity that can drive the utilization of Sweden’s large biomass resources.
Among the topics discussed were:
• What are the current barriers for advancing the use of industrial biotechnology globally and how can systems biology assist in passing these barriers?
• Biofuels versus bio-based commodity chemicals: What will lead the development?
• What are the best exemplar cases of industrial biotechnology success stories and what were the key technologies that ensured break-through?
• How can Sweden position itself in the field of industrial biotechnology?

Moderator for the roundtable discussion was Jens Nielsen. At the workshop there were two representatives from Swedish funding agencies (VINNOVA and Innovationsbron). Based on the discussions VINNOVA has initiated internal strategy discussions on how to advance industrial biotechnology both in a Swedish perspective but also in a European perspective. In connection with this activity there has also been pushed for establishing an ERA-NET in the field of systems biology applied to industrial biotechnology (with two Swedish funding agencies being partner; Vetenskapsrådet and Västre Götalands Region).
The workshop on “Defining the needs for developing modeling strategies” was held in January 2011. The workshop was very successful with about 20 participants from all over Europe. At the workshop there was set up definitions for how modeling can contribute to advance the field of biology, biotechnology and human health. Based on the discussions a paper has been written up and it is planned to submit this for publication in the near future. The publication will also be send to different funding agencies in Europe – via ISBE. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)
The workshop “Protein-Protein Interaction Annotation Jamboree” was held in Gothenburg in September 2009. The workshop had 20 participants from several internationally leading research groups. At the workshop it was discussed how there can be a coordinated effort towards data generation. The discussions resulted in the establishment of a new initiative on coordinating data assembly and building network structures for different pathways in yeast with the objective to demonstrate how coordination of research activities can result in reaching ambitious systems biology objectives. Moreover the discussions in the workshop were integrated with the results from Task 2 and summarized in discussions with the Swedish funding agency Vetenskapsrådet. This has resulted in opening of a call for establishing a Swedish infrastructure on Systems Biology. This is to be interacting with Infrastructure Systems Biology Europe (ISBE), which has been funded in an initial phase. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)
Several smaller workshops and meetings on establishing research infrastructures in systems biology have been held, in particular in connection with establishing the proposal for ISBE. Compared with experimental sciences and bioinformatics it is more difficult to define clearly the structure of infrastructures for systems biology, as this discipline generally involves approaches that are directed to a specific research problem. However, through these meetings it is has become possible to identify areas of systems biology that have matured sufficiently to allow for building geographically distributed infrastructure facilities in the form of model-databases and computational services. It is believed that this will result in further consolidation and focus of the research field, and further allow establishing platforms that will allow a wider dissemination of systems biology in research. These discussions have, as mentioned, above taken place in close interaction with funding agencies, and it is believed that ISBE will be a major vehicle for driving this onwards in the future.
Moreover due to the big interest of industrial biotechnology and a European focus on industrial aspects it was agreed with the Project Officer to change the task 6 workshop from “Research infrastructures and networks” to “Systems Biology for Industrial Biotechnology in Europe”. The workshop combined presentations from academia and industry, and in connection with each lecture there was extensive discussion. Following the workshop there were a round off discussion on future directions. Overall the workshop demonstrated that systems biology tools and techniques are being integrated into the research programs of many leading European companies, but that there still is a need for further bridging between academia and industry. In connection with this the EU Coordination Action Systems Biology as a Driver for Industrial Biotechnology (SYSINBIO) was mentioned as an important vehicle as this allowed for such bridging. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)
A workshop on “Challenges in future education and training” was held during the ICSB2011 conference in Mannheim in August, 2011. Leading European scientists and teachers were invited to hold a short presentation about their experiences in systems biology education as well as a round table discussion. There was also held a workshop on “Education in interdisciplinary biology” at ICSB2008 in Gothenburg, and at this workshop there was discussed different approaches to education in the field of systems biology. No report has been sent on these activities to funding agencies, but recommendations were drafted for how to build interdisciplinary education programs. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)
There was active involvement in organizing ICSB2010 as well as 2011. A conference report from the 2010 meeting has been published. (Conference programme outlines are attached to the report)
3. To inform and guide pharmaceutical and bio-industries in Europe on developments and opportunities in Systems Biology and thereby enable well-informed corporate decisions.
FutureSysBio was involved in organizing a very successful International Conference on Systems Biology 2008, with about 2000 participants. There was a very high level of the scientific program with a range of keynote speakers from Europe, USA and Asia. The conference was organized with a plenary session in the morning where there were 4 general lectures that introduced four different topics. The plenary session was then followed by four parallel sessions, so-called dedicated sessions where there were two invited speakers and 6 speakers selected from poster abstracts. Poster session/ exhibition/arenas were combined with lunch, and in the early afternoon there was organized specific workshops. Later in the afternoon there was again a plenary session with fours speakers. Among the workshops there was organized one on Industry needs in systems biology. At the workshop there were excellent presentations from both big-pharma and small biotech companies. The workshop gave a very clear demonstration of how systems biology can drive drug development and clinical investigations onwards. The workshop involved a panel discussion. (Conference programme outline is attached to the report)

A workshop on the topic “What is needed for systems biology to enter the clinic” was organized in November 2008 in Gothenburg. The workshop had about 20 participants from universities, hospitals and companies. About half of the participants were young researchers that were selected based on application (more than 60 applicants came in). At the workshop there were organized different discussions in groups on how systems biology can contribute better to advance the medical health care system in Europe, and some of the barriers were discussed. The outcomes of the discussions have been summarized in a short commentary on Translational and Systems Medicine. At the workshop there were representatives from industry that presented their perspectives on how systems biology can contribute to the field. The results of the workshop have further been used by many of the academic participants to engage with discussions with local companies on establishing collaborative projects. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)

The workshop on “Defining the needs for developing modeling strategies” was held in January 2011. The workshop was very successful with about 20 participants from all over Europe. At the workshop there was set up definitions for how modeling can contribute to advance the field of biology, biotechnology and human health. Through discussions with industry it is quite clear that stoichiometric based models have found wider use than detailed kinetic models, and there is therefore increasing focus on how to provide solid infrastructures for this kind of modeling in the future. Through interaction with the EU-project Systems Biology as a Driver for Industrial Biotechnology (SYSINBIO), that had a heavy industrial representation it has further been possible to get solid feed-backs from industry on their views on systems biology and this was integrated at the workshop. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)

A workshop on “Protein-Protein Interaction Annotation Jamboree” was held in Gothenburg in September 2009. The workshop had 20 participants from several internationally leading research groups. At the workshop it was discussed how there can be a coordinated effort towards data generation. The discussions resulted in the establishment of a new initiative on coordinating data assembly and building network structures for different pathways in yeast with the objective to demonstrate how coordination of research activities can result in reaching ambitious systems biology objectives. This workshop had little relevance for industry at this stage, but the infrastructure that may be generated as an outcome of the discussions at the workshop may be attractive for industry. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)

Several smaller workshops and meetings on establishing research infrastructures in systems biology have been held, in particular in connection with establishing the proposal for ISBE. Compared with experimental sciences and bioinformatics it is more difficult to define clearly the structure of infrastructures for systems biology, as this discipline generally involves approaches that are directed to a specific research problem. However, through these meetings it is has become possible to identify areas of systems biology that have matured sufficiently to allow for building geographically distributed infrastructure facilities in the form of model-databases and computational services. It is believed that this will result in further consolidation and focus of the research field, and further allow establishing platforms that will allow a wider dissemination of systems biology in research. As mentioned in WP2 these discussions have taken place in close interaction with funding agencies, but through our industrial network we have also managed to ensure input from this segment on how systems biology can advance translational research, both in the pharmaceutical and industrial biotechnology segment.
Moreover due to the big interest of industrial biotechnology and a European focus on industrial aspects it was agreed with the Project Officer to change the task 5 workshop from “Research infrastructures and networks” to “Systems Biology for Industrial Biotechnology in Europe”. The workshop combined presentations from academia and industry, and in connection with each lecture there was extensive discussion. Following the workshop there were a round off discussion on future directions. Overall the workshop demonstrated that systems biology tools and techniques are being integrated into the research programs of many leading European companies, but that there still is a need for further bridging between academia and industry. In connection with this the EU Coordination Action Systems Biology as a Driver for Industrial Biotechnology (SYSINBIO) was mentioned as an important vehicle as this allowed for such bridging. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)

A workshop on “Challenges in future education and training” was held during the ICSB2011 conference in Mannheim in August, 2011. Leading European scientists and teachers were invited to hold a short presentation about their experiences in systems biology education as well as a round table discussion. There was also held a workshop on “Education in interdisciplinary biology” at ICSB2008 in Gothenburg, and at this workshop there was discussed different approaches to education in the field of systems biology. Also in this activity there has been close interaction with the SYSINBIO project, and through this obtain input from industry about the needs, in particular for post-graduate education in the field of systems biology. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)

A four hour workshop was held in connection with the conference “Industrial Systems Biology: Sustainable production of fuels and chemicals” held at Chalmers August 18-20, 2010. Focus of the workshop was twofold: 1) how will systems biology impact industrial biotechnology in the future; and 2) what is the Swedish perspective of industrial biotechnology. Sweden is a country that is characterized by having a large production industry, and of relevance for industrial biotechnology there are large industries in the following sectors: chemicals, forestry, pulp and paper and food. Besides this Sweden has access to fairly cheap hydro-electricity that can drive the utilization of Sweden’s large biomass resources.
Among the topics discussed were:
• What are the current barriers for advancing the use of industrial biotechnology globally and how can systems biology assist in passing these barriers?
• Biofuels versus bio-based commodity chemicals: What will lead the development?
• What are the best exemplar cases of industrial biotechnology success stories and what were the key technologies that ensured break-through?
• How can Sweden position itself in the field of industrial biotechnology?

Moderator for the roundtable discussion was Jens Nielsen. At the workshop there was heavy industrial representation.

There was active involvement in organizing both ICSB2010, where there was organised a specific session on impact of systems biology on biotechnology, as well as ICSB2011 where FutureSysBio was presented with a poster on the Science Arena where industry was also present

There was organized a conference on Chemical Biology in Gothenburg in August 2009. The conference had about 100 participants and involved presentation from several companies. The topic is highly relevant for the identification of drug targets, and there was several discussions on how systems biology can assist in advancing our understanding of chemical interactions with proteins. (Conference programme is attached to the report)

A 2 day conference “Industrial Systems Biology: Sustainable production of fuels and chemicals” was held at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden August 18-20, 2010 (the conference was organized as one of the conferences in the Gothenburg Life Science Conference series). In connection with the conference there was also organized a dedicated student workshop on August 17 (3 hours) where one speaker from academia (Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos, MIT, USA) and one speaker from industry (Dr. Alan Berry, Novozymes, USA/Denmark) presented about job prospects and industrial demand for future students.
At the conference there were 20 oral presentations and 40 poster presentations. There were more than 170 participants at the conference. A detailed report from the conference has been published in Biotechnology Journal (Biotechnol. J. 2011, 6, 259–261 DOI 10.1002/biot.201000346). Furthermore, based on oral presentations several papers were published in a special issue of Biotechnology Journal entitled “Systems biology for industrial applications”. The editorial provides perspectives based on conclusions of the conference. There was very heavy industrial representation at the conference, both in terms of speakers and participants. (Conference programme is attached to the report)


4. To inform and guide higher education and education funders of challenges and opportunities in interdisciplinary education and training.

FutureSysBio was involved in organizing ICSB2008 and the programme of the session on education at ICSB2008 was as follows
Education in interdisciplinary biology
Chairpersons: Anders Blomberg (Gothenburg) and Hans Westerhoff (Manchester/Amsterdam)
Hans Westerhoff University of Manchester, UK Doctoral Training: twinning the challenges of inter- and transdisciplinarity
David Botstein Princeton University, USA Undergraduate Science Curriculum for the 21st Century
Olle Nerman Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden Experiences from interdisciplinary master programmes in bioinformatics and systems biology in Gothenburg
Anders Blomberg University of Gothenburg, Sweden Experience from pair-student projects - graduate multidisciplinary training within the National Research School in Genomics and Bioinformatics
Stefan Hohmann University of Gothenburg, Sweden Developing the International Course for Yeast Systems Biology
Panel discussion and questions from the audience

The session featured a number of different approaches to teaching interdisciplinary and systems biology. All stressed, however, the importance of training in more than one discipline, i.e. biology plus X.

The workshop “Challenges in future education and training” (D4.3) was held in conjunction to ICSB 2011 in Mannheim. Leading European scientists and teachers held short presentations about their experiences in systems biology education. The presentations were followed by a round table discussion on various aspects of Systems Biology education. The following were the major conclusions from these discussions:
➢ Interdisciplinary education in biology and medicine encompassing principles of physics, chemistry and mathematics/engineering is absolutely essential for developing Systems Biology and for promoting the competiveness of the European research base.
➢ Such interdisciplinary education should be based on a foundation within one discipline. In other words, starting interdisciplinary education from day 1 at bachelor level is regarded too challenging for the large majority of students.
➢ The appropriate level to enter interdisciplinary education is at master’s and PhD training level.
➢ A network of European Systems Biology education programmes is highly recommended to ensure exchange of experience, teachers and students.
It was decided to form such a network of education performers in systems biology, an activity that will be pursued within the ISBE ESFRI project and the ERASysApp ERANet. (Workshop programme is attached to the report)

5. To inform the general public, policy makers, and media of opportunities, challenges and facts in Systems Biology.
In conjunction with the ICSB2008 conference FutureSysBio issued press releases to inform the media. Media coverage of the event was, however, limited.
In connection to the “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology”a press conference was held. This media event resulted in an article in the biggest Swedish daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, on Aug 29, 2010. The same newspaper also published an article about Partner 2 and systems biology as a research area on June 27 2010. These articles had very high visibility within Sweden and raised public interest for the topic. It was followed by several additional articles in newspapers and science- as well as biotechnology-related magazines.
In conjunction with the preparation of the ERSysApp proposal both Partners communicated with representatives of the region Västra Götaland, which resulted in their involvement in the ERANet. This can be seen as a first step for raising the interest for the potential for Systems Biology in regional politics. This was followed by further discussions to integrate systems biology in certain aspects of regional policy and development. In the long run we envisage wider activities within the region and potentially to connect different regions in Europe for exploiting Systems Biology.
In conjunctions with the preparation of the ISBE ESFRI proposal Partner 1 communicated with different European funders on the potential for developing Systems Biology infrastructure. Both Partners communicated with the Swedish Research Council and the Wallenberg Foundation as well as the Swedish genomics infrastructure SciLifeLab on developing access to competence in Systems Biology.

Potential Impact:
FutureSysBio arranged ICSB2008 in Gothenburg with 1,050 delegates and in 2010 the 35th FEBS congress was held in Gothenburg where FutureSysBio organized the systems biology talks and was involved in the workshop “Practical Systems Biology”. Moreover the project was represented at ICSB 2010 as well as 2011 where researchers from the partner groups presented their research orally as well as with posters. In Dec 2010 a summarising report from ICSB2010 was published by Partner 2 in the Biotechnology Journal. These events have strongly contributed to community building among researchers in Europe, spreading of excellence in research, wider attention to the Systems Biology approach and the communication between different state holders. These aspects will have long-lasting effects on the European research landscape in the field.
ICSB2008 featured “Arenas”, where numerous EC-funded networks were introduced as well as a dedicated session on Systems Biology funding with participants from the EC and several national funding organisations. At ICSB 2011 FutureSysBio was presented with a poster at the “Science arena”. Reports have been produced from both workshops as well as systems biology conferences. Both FutureSysBio partners participated in the preparation of the ISBE proposal for a European Systems Biology infrastructure and communicated their experiences to funding organisations in the process. ISBE will have a long-lasting effect on structuring Systems Biology research and providing access to data-generating facilities and competence in modelling and simulation. In this context, a proposal for a Swedish Systems Biology infrastructure was submitted to the Swedish research Council.
ICSB2008 featured a session on the needs of the pharmaceutical and bio-industries with representatives from several companies. Moreover the topical conference “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology” held in Gothenburg 2010 was dedicated to the impact of systems biology on industrial biotechnology, sustainable production of chemicals and production of biofuels. A workshop has been held on what is needed to apply Systems Biology in the clinic. This was a successful workshop that provided future guidance for industries. In connection to the “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology” the workshop “What is needed for employing Systems Biology in bioengineering” was held with representatives from Industry, academia and funding agencies. These activities have strengthened the interest within the industries and provided them with contacts and entry points for access to competence in the field. This is expected to have long-lasting effects for the development of industrial applications of Systems Biology.
The workshop “Challenges in future education and training.” was held in conjunction to ICSB 2011 in Mannheim. Leading European scientists and teachers were invited to hold a short presentation about their experiences in systems biology education as well as a round table discussion. It was decided to form a network of education performers in systems biology, an activity that will be pursued within ISBE and the ERASysApp ERANet. Education in interdisciplinary biology and medicine is key for the development of the human resource base and the field as a whole and hence this activity is expected to have long-lasting effects for the competitiveness of European RTD.
In connection to the “Gothenburg Life science Conference XI – Industrial Systems Biology”a press conference was held, leading to an article in the Swedish newspaper Dagens nyheter Aug 29, 2010. The same newspaper also published an article about Partner 2 and systems biology, in June 2010. In conjunction with the preparation of the ERASysApp proposal both partners communicated with representatives of the region Västra Götaland, which resulted in their involvement in the ERANet and first steps to integrate systems biology in certain aspects of regional policy and development. Therefore, FutureSysBio has succeeded to bring Systems Biology to the political agenda, at least at regional level. This is expected to have effects for the development of competence and the interaction between research, industry and political decision makers in the following years.



Stefan Hohmann, professor
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology/Microbiology
University of Gothenburg
Box 462 SE-405 30 Goeteborg, Sweden
Fax: +46 31 786 2599
Phone: +46 31 3608488

E-mail: stefan.hohmann@gu.se

Dr. Maria Enge, project manager
maria.enge@gu.se

Related information

Reported by

GOETEBORGS UNIVERSITET
Sweden
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