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EU fuels synthetic biology
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EU fuels synthetic biology

15.05.2013 - Funding agencies from 13 European countries have kicked off a €15.5m initiative for synthetic biology.

The funding call is the first one of the ERA-Net SynBio, a network of 16 national funding agencies that kicked off in 2012 and wants to boost cross-border collaborations in synthetic biology. Funding topics will range from metabolic engineering for sustainable chemistry over regulatory circuits to provide new functions in cells and organisms to so-called orthogonal biosystems, which express genes and proteins with completely new functions. Furthermore the funding will go into components for cell-based machines or cell-free devices to perform complex new tasks, microorganisms with minimal genomes, and synthetic protocells.

Each proposal must involve a minimum of three partners from at least three different European funding countries. Consortia involving US-partners must involve partners from a minimum of four countries.

ERASynBio, which launched last year, also seeks to stimulate collaborations between academia and industry and integrate them into focused research projects, and by providing training opportunities and creating an interdisciplinary advisory board.

"Synthetic biology has the potential to address some of the major challenges of the 21st century as well as offering innovations to benefit the economy“, said BBSRC Chief Executive Douglas Kell. „By applying engineering principles to biological research we have the potential to shape the future of industrial compounds, biofuels and new medicines, and to provide exciting insights into fundamental biological mechanisms."

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