Giving Economic Added Value to Research
Genoma España (Foundation for Development and Research in Genomics and Proteomics) is a public foundation with links to the state, but with a strong vocation for business, with the objective to promote research in genomics and to develop biotechnology in Spain.
Thus, the creation of Genoma España promotes active participation in the second phase or the genome era, which will bring notable advances and applications in the fields of health, food science and the environment.
Genoma España was founded with the mission of becoming the engine and link between agents in the Spanish biotechnology sector (researchers, the business community, institutions and investors) with a clear projection toward society. In addition to promoting and co-ordinating research conducted in Spain in genomics and proteomics, another objective of Genoma España is to make better use of the results of research, giving it market value and guiding it towards the development of the biotechnology business sector. Genoma España likewise acts as an observatory of the research being conducted and carries out prospective tasks. Its other objectives include promoting the participation of civil society and mobilizing private resources toward Spanish universities and public research institutes.
In the framework of fulfilling these objectives, the activities of Genoma España are focused principally on providing direct support for research in genomics and proteomics and creating bioenterprises, supporting different research groups, centers and networks in this field, promoting technology transfer, conducting awareness campaigns and developing relations with national and international institutions and entities.
An Open Platform
To implement these objectives and projects, Genoma España's organization is structured around a Board of Directors with administrative, management and representative functions, which is fully open to incorporating both businesses and private institutions.
Genoma España also has two advisory boards, a Business Council in charge of all matters relating to biotechnology enterprises, especially those involved with genomics and proteomics, and a Scientific Advisory Committee for scientific matters.
The Business Council is composed of representatives of companies in the sector or in related fields. And the Scientific Advisory Committee includes prestigious scientists in the sector and representatives of Spanish or foreign institutions who can provide valuable input.
The structure of Genoma España likewise includes three executive bodies (an Executive Committee, General Directorate and Management Department) and three operative units (the Strategic Studies Unit, Sales and Training Unit, and Coordination and Special Actions Unit), in addition to its Economic Control Unit.
During 2003 three international projects in genomics and proteomics were initiated (in collaboration with Genome Canada) in the fields of human health, plants, and aquiculture, and three technological platforms were set up: the Virtual Bio-informatics Institute, the Spanish DNA Bank and the Spanish Genotyping Center.
These initiatives, and especially the technological platforms, are intended to place the country among the most advanced nations in research and applications derived from genome-related discoveries and to enable it to be present in projects such as the aforementioned Hap-Map/Var-Hap.
At the Service of Society and its Stakeholders
In line with its role of promoting and enhancing the Spanish biotechnology sector, Genoma España has developed a series of products for both researchers and businesses in the sector, potential investors, and governmental agencies. Moreover, this portfolio provides the opportunity to bring together all of these stakeholders.
One of the strong points of the Deal Flow services that Genoma España provides to stakeholders is that these services facilitate the entry of private capital into the sector and minimize investment risks, since Genoma España conducts prescriptive analyses of those projects that have a clear potential for applied research and those products that have commercial interest.
This portfolio of products and services likewise offers benefits to those entities (investors, the business community and institutions) that belong to the Board of Trustees or its Business Council. These benefits include:
- Participation in defining the country's strategies in the area of genomics and in the coordination and follow up after they are put into practice,
- Access to information concerning vigi- lance, prospective and evaluation of technologies, products and knowledge, and
- Evaluation of projects of their interest, contracting those projects with the me- diation of Genoma España, and utiliz- ing their results.
With regard to researchers, Genoma España gives market value to the result of their research and works to support their promotion and mobility with a view to facilitating their participation in major forums and projects. And all of this is in line with its firm intention to strengthen co-operation between the international entities, principally in Europe, which conduct research in their areas of interest.
Knowledge of the map of the human genome also represents new knowledge not included in the teaching curricula of traditional institutions and business schools. Thus, there is a need to design educational programmes to promote the understanding and evaluation of this new economic and scientific environment.
Moreover, Genoma España is concerned with public opinion, since society is the principal beneficiary of the results of the basic and applied research conducted in the area of biotechnology, and specifically in genomics and proteomics. The following applications are clear examples of the potential of these new activities and their impact on society:
- Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
- Aquaculture and Fisheries
- Animal Health
- Human Health
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