Brussels, 15 September 2005
A conference in Brussels today examines Europe’s development towards a modern knowledge-based bio-economy, with contributions from industry representatives, academia and civil society, as well as European and national representatives. A conference on the same issue takes place at the same time in Beijing, and European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik and his Chinese counterpart, Xu Guanhua, Minister of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, will deliver a joint message to both conferences, highlighting the importance of this sector for the future. The bio-economy covers the management, production and use of biological resources such as food, feed, fibre and fuels and European bio-industries have a combined annual turnover of €1500 billion.
In their joint address, Commissioner Potočnik and Minister Xu say: “Although there are many differences between China and the 25 EU Member States, we face many of the same challenges. So naturally, we are looking at the same solutions. We are both very interested in finding solutions that lie in the life sciences and bio-technology, because these are sustainable solutions that can help us find a balance between the needs of our economies and our environment. As citizens of planet earth it is not surprising that we both turn to “Mother Earth,”- to life itself - to help our economies to develop in a way which should not just enhance our quality of life, but also maintain it for future generations. We may learn together and help one another as we seek to find a new way forward to the bio-economy of the future.”
Growing knowledge, in particular in the area of life sciences and biotechnology, is paving the way for new agricultural products, novel foods and renewable materials, such as biodegradable plastics or new bio fuels.
In recognition of the increasing importance of this emerging sector, the EU is determined to use growing expertise and technological development going on in the life sciences to develop new, sustainable, eco-efficient and competitive products. This emerging bio-economy should involve all industries and economic sectors that produce, manage or otherwise exploit biological resources – animals, plants, micro-organisms - and their related services, supply or consumer industries, such as agriculture, food, fishery, forestry, etc.
To identify the strategic challenges for these industries, a number of Technology Platforms have been
created recently, bringing together industry, research institutes, public authorities, financial
institutions and so on to define a common research agenda, in areas such as food for life, plants for
the future, forestry, global animal health, farm animal breeding and industrial biotechnology.
The conference “The knowledge-based bio-economy” is organised with the UK Presidency of the EU and members of the European Parliament. Please see the conference web site for more details: