Australian Centre Launches BIOS - an Open Source Biotechnology Research Initiative

October 11, 2004

Canberra, Australia, 08 Oct 2004

BIOS is fundamentally an effort to develop new innovation systems for market failures and for neglected priorities.

BIOS holds to a '3-D' philosophy espoused by its founding institute, CAMBIA.

Democratize, Decentralize and Diversify. These basic tenets of social, economic, and environmental responsibility can equally be applied to the harnessing of science and human creativity for improving the quality of life, and for promoting sound business and prosperous communities.

Design, Develop, Disseminate. Grand philosophical ambitions must be grounded with practical tools for achieving the goals in meaningful timeframe. The communications and information technology revolutions afford a unique ability to harvest and share information, knowledge and wisdom within and between communities that have been marginalized or inadequately served.

In so doing, we greatly multiply the potential for public good. However, to do so requires paradigmatic shifts in the culture of innovation, law, capital, intellectual property and indeed of business.

Hence BIOS and the BioForge.

The BIOS initiative will foster democratic innovation in the application of biological technologies, through the merging of

  • intellectual property informatics and analysis,
  • innovation system structural reform, and
  • cooperative open access technology development activities.

We are developing a web community to tangibly advance this ambitious activity to reform biological innovation. Our goal is to empower diverse innovators and engage creative spirit of many more people in crafting solutions to their own problems, be they in food and agriculture, natural resource management, public health or medicine.

This experiment will test our understanding of the limits of this web space, in that we need to initiate threads of productive discussion, and undertake practical activities towards such challenges as:

  • Porting the concepts, philosophies, normative behaviours, legal mechanisms and public enthusiasm for Open Source into the vastly more challenging area of patents, and biological research and development.
  • Making new opportunities to engage the worldwide biological R&D community, empowering decentralized innovations and innovators.
  • Cooperatively prioritizing, designing, generating and sharing transformative biological technologies that can improve the ability for locally committed people to solve their own problems, and address low-margin markets or market failures.
  • Creating practical business models that can encourage the development of robust, economically viable small-to-medium enterprise formation to address neglected market opportunities.
  • Creating the social and policy initiatives to make these things happen. This must include constructive engagement in patent law reform, international genetic resource policy, and much more.
  • Generating new software innovations for cooperative technology development - e.g. BioForge - making Sourceforge-like toolkits and enabling environments in which scientists and interested problem-solvers around the world can cooperate to create real and practical innovations that can be preserved for public use, empowering both public and private sector to deliver attractive solutions.
  • Pioneering new, cost-free public access databasing, parsing and informatics-rich technologies to render the massive, complex and opaque world of patents and IP into a transparent and stimulating structure for the public good, as originally intended by framers of patent systems.
  • For more information, see the BIOS Initiative (PDF document) and the FAQ.

    Discuss this page at the Forum section.

    Center for the Application for Molecular Biology to International Agriculture -- CAMBIA
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