Brussels, 29 Nov 2005
The European Commission is to establish a network of senior government officials tasked with developing the knowledge-based bio-economy (KBBE), with the ultimate aim of establishing a strategic framework for the sector.
The plan is revealed in a new report based on the outcomes of the KBBE conference held in Brussels on 15 and 16 September, jointly organised by the Commission and the UK Presidency.
In a foreword to the report, Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik begins by acknowledging that 'the concept of a knowledge-based bio-economy is likely to be new to you. But it is a concept that will doubtless become familiar over the coming years as Europe steps up its efforts to become a world-leading economic and scientific powerhouse.'
However, the Commissioner foresees significant challenges ahead: '[T]he bio-economy is complex. It involves different sciences and technologies, different industries, and different policy areas. Achieving a common vision among such a diversity of stakeholders is no easy task,' he warns.
Hence the Commission's plan to establish the network of Member State officials, which it says will enable an exchange of views on different practices and experiences in an effort to achieve the desired consensus.
The report also sets out the main conclusions from the KBBE conference, which include a recognition that combining biotechnology with other technological fields is the best way to move the bio-economy forward, and an acknowledgement of the fact that biotechnology needs to comply closely with the needs of society, with regulations, and with the requirements of the research system.