European life sciences received an unexpected boost as the European Science Foundation launched an initiative to help promote and coordinate interaction among European life sciences researchers and funders.
The EuroBioFund aims to promote European research in the areas of pharmaceuticals, genetics, systems biology and biotechnology providing a platform for funding organisations and life science researchers to foster joint research initiatives through networking and brokerage
Central to this formation is the commitment to make up ground to the US in terms of drug R&D. In 2004, the US spent €27.1bn (£18.8bn) compare to Europe's figure of €21.5 bn.
The life sciences domain has undergone a change in terms of research approaches, new infrastructure needs and technology developments and, now more than ever, we are witnessing new developments, which directly impact, on our lives.
In order for Europe to remain competitive with the US and Asia, the necessary critical mass of expertise and resources must be made available in a coordinated manner.
Currently, R&D investment is fragmented among numerous funding bodies across Europe.
The initiative also aims to help organise research communities and facilitate bottom-up generation of research programmes of European scale and scope
In addition, it is committed to shaping a new funding way in Europe by helping to develop joint investments and funding of life sciences research.
With support from the European Commission, EuroBioFund launch coincides with the EU's New Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which is launched officially as of January 1 2007, with a budget of €50bn euros to invest in scientific research and innovation.
"Moving toward a more coordinated approach to R & D investment in the life sciences is a challenging but necessary step if Europe is to remain an important global player in life sciences and biotechnology research," said Wouter Spek, director of EuroBioFund.