ScanBalt celebrates its 10th anniversary
Under the motto “10 Years ScanBalt Bioregion – Towards a Balanced Regional Development and Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region”, the ScanBalt BioRegion is holding the 10th ScanBalt Forum from September 21st-23rd. Launched in 2001, ScanBalt has become the most significant cooperation network for the life sciences and health sector in Northern Europe. The cross-border initiative that is headquartered in Copenhagen encompasses a region of 85 million inhabitants, 60 universities, 248 hospitals and about 2,500 life science and biotech companies – around 700 of which are SMEs.
The key issue for ScanBalt is to bundle the interests of its 67 members in the Baltic Sea Region, as well as North-West Russia, Norway and the Northern Netherlands. And the network is accomplishing that task with increasing success. So far, 15 international projects for companies, universities, and research facilities have been initiated and supported under the ScanBalt umbrella, all of them aimed at developing the areas bordering the Baltic Sea into a globally competitive meta-region. Taking yearly turns, members rotate duties in the ScanBalt Forum in order to strengthen cross-border cooperation within the ScanBalt Bio region. Following the founding session at the first Baltic Biotech Forum, which took place in Teschow in the German State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 2001, the event has migrated almost completely around the Baltic Sea region from Oslo to Tallinn. The meeting in Heringsdorf on the German/Polish island of Usedom marks the return of ScanBalt to the southernmost areas of the initiative.
Flagship for Europe:
the Baltic Sea Health Region
The agenda of this year’s Forum is filled with topics like the EU flagship “Baltic Sea Health Region” project, the “Green Valley”project with environmental projects and activities in the region, and the opportunities and challenges of cross-border cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. Contributors to the 2010 ScanBalt Forum in Tallin (Estonia) successfully managed to incorporate the “ScanBalt Health Region” project as a keystone in the EU Baltic Sea Strategy, and added proposals to the emerging 8th EU Research Framework Programme, which includes a “Master Plan on Health“ for the Baltic Sea region.
Successes like these have encouraged the 2011 Forum organisers. ScanBalt chairman Wolfgang Blank has high expectations: “The ScanBalt BioRegion has emerged as a model region for Europe in the cooperation between business, universities, and the public sector. In future, we need to keep working to improve the mobility of people, knowledge, and ideas within Europe, and to reduce regional inequalities. In Heringsdorf, we are attempting to pave the way for well-balanced regional development.”
Lectures and workshops are one way to present new projects from areas that include regenerative medicine, marine and industrial biotechnology, the fight against multi-resistant bacteria, identifying and defining new areas of cooperation, developing expansion strategies in the life sciences and health economy fields, and for mobilising resources for implementation. 250 participants from business, science, and the public sector are expected at the Forum, which falls under the patronage of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, currently led by state premiere Erwin Sellering. Anyone interested is welcome to attend (registration at: www.scanbaltforum2011.eu).
The ScanBalt Forum is organised by the West Pomeranian Medical University Szczecin/Poland, the University of Klaipeda/Lithuania and as part of the project Eco4Life, which is partly financed by the EU (European Regional Development Fund). The lead partner is BioCon Valley® GmbH, a central contact and service provider for life sciences, biotechnology and the biosciences in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.