This week the European Commission’s Vice President Tajani turned the spotlight once again on Industrial Biotech as a Key Enabling Technology driving jobs and growth in Europe’s bioeconomy through the adoption of a new Communication.
Commenting on the announcement, Lars Hansen, Chair of EuropaBio’s Industrial Biotech Council and President of Novozymes Europe stated “In uncertain and often turbulent economic times the KETs represent a real opportunity for the EU and its industry. They illustrate, in very concrete terms, our capacity to find smart solutions to society’s needs whilst creating sustainable economic growth. Industrial biotech and bio-based industries are already a key asset for the EU and should increasingly play a vital role in capturing the economic potential of EU technological excellence in this field within the member states. But for this to happen it’s vital that the EU’s budget’s for KETs and the Bioeconomy, foreseen in Horizon 2020, are safeguarded by these countries.”
Bio-based industries are identified by the Commission as linking highly-skilled value chains and workforces of Europeans – from the farmers cultivating the land to the scientists, innovators and industry sectors working towards providing greener products and more sustainable processes using renewable residues and wastes. These diverse, yet interconnected, sectors are central to addressing core societal challenges such as improving energy and resource efficiency and boosting the fight against climate change.
EuropaBio, represented by Professor Andre Koltermann of Süd-Chemie/Clariant, was involved in the development of the KET strategy and action plan as part of the high level expert group. The Association continues to call for an integrated approach for research and innovation financing covering the entire value chain in order to translate research into marketable products and economic growth bridging the so called “Valley of Death” from research to market.
Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio, summed up: “Vice President Tajani clearly highlights that if the necessary support and investments are made in KETs, like industrial biotech, Europe will reap the rewards. This is echoed by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn who has recognised, through the Bioeconomy “Innovating for Sustainable Growth” Strategy, the need for boosting industrial biotech and for funding Public Private Partnerships on bio-based industries through Horizon 2020. The pieces of the puzzle are being put in place and it’s now up to the member states to ensure that the sun doesn’t set on this golden opportunity for the EU.”