The new roadmap for biotech
Oslo – In Norway, a discussion has begun on how to continue to support biotechnology after the current National Programme for Research in Functional Genomics in Norway (FUGE) comes to a close in 2011. Efforts to draw up a national strategy for the sector will soon be launched under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Research. To date, 8 of the 21 Norwegian Centres of Excellence conduct research related to biotechnology, making the field one of Norway’s strongest research areas. Over the past few months, the Research Council has been consulting with universities and the business sector to pinpoint future research priorities. “The primary focus of the FUGE programme has been on the technological aspects of research,” said Steinar Bergseth, Special Advisor at the Research Council of Norway. “In the next phase, we will focus more strongly on how technology can address the challenges society is facing.” He cited climate and environmental issues, health, food and nutrition, and an ageing population as examples of relevant areas.
Øystein Rønning, Special Advisor in the Research Council’s Department for Bioproduction, International Cooperation and Commercialisation, said that the research must reflect current international focus and concerns, especially with regard to the OECD’s view of biotechnology as a key force behind the transition to a knowledge-based bioeconomy.