437396 Green Biotechnology Research in Europe: From Environmental Protection to a Circular Bioeconomy

Wednesday, November 11, 2015: 4:03 PM
150D/E (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Spiros N. Agathos, Earth and Life Institute (ELI), Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Thanks to a long tradition in the Life Sciences and Chemistry and also a strong and sustained manufacturing basis in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, Europe continues to be at the forefront of Biotechnology R&D both in academia and in industry. It is currently estimated that the potential contribution of Industrial Biotechnology (IB) to gross added value worldwide hovers around 60 billion €. In this landscape Europe is heading the implementation of IB for fine chemicals and it is the world leading producer of enzymes (75%), while at the present time the share of European firms in R&D expenditure by leading companies worldwide represents nearly 70%. This long and consistent European dominance in Biotechnology has been evolving towards greener processes that meet the challenges of improved overall process sustainability with a strong focus on environmental protection and a trend towards insertion of more bio-based steps. This presentation will describe the recent efforts in European R&D actions, primarily exemplified by the multi-year research programs supported by the European Commission (7th Framework Program and Horizon 2020) to integrate individual strengths in academia and industry and provide a major boost on the road from fundamental discoveries to innovation. Several successful recently completed and on-going multi-national research projects will highlight the level of ambition and the challenges to be overcome, with a special focus on the transition from environmental biotechnology to resource management in order to make the circular BioEconomy a reality.

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