Labs get networking

July 10, 1998

Europe is ploughing billions into biotechnology and bioscience. Alison Goddard and Kam Patel report

THE European Commission has launched a plant biotechnology research network to improve technology transfer across 400 laboratories in 20 countries.

The European Plant Biotechnology Network will plough Pounds 300,000 into coordinating research between laboratories, which receive Pounds 100 million in funding from Brussels. The EPBN also aims to improve consumer knowledge of plant biotechnology.

It has been set up by Brussels in collaboration with Amica, a pan-European company set up jointly by the John Innes Centre (JIC) and Germany's Max Planck Institute. Amica specialises in taking on contracts from the European Commission for the management and coordination of plant biotechnology research at laboratories across Europe.

The company already manages 160 laboratories funded under the EU's multi-billion Framework research project.

The Plant Industrial Platform, an association of European plant biotechnology firms specialising in plant protection and breeding, is also involved.

Dick Flavell, director of the JIC, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity ... EPBN will provide a shop window on new technologies for European companies."

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