The challenges that are sweeping the global life sciences community are enormous and the stakes are huge. The combination of the EU presidency and EuroBiO 2008 will empower those who understand the challenges to design the changes required for the 21st century.
Returning to Paris for 2008, EuroBiO has been designated 'the life sciences event of the EU presidency'. This recognition is a result of the prominent role EuroBiO has played in promoting the achievements of and potential within European life sciences, and in heightening awareness of the challenges that need to be tackled to ensure that Europe remains competitive in the world market.
EuroBiO 2008 gives voice to the grassroots of science and business, it exposes bias and undue compromise, and offers Europe's life sciences community the opportunity to build on its strengths and to make change happen. EuroBiO 2008 will play a vital role in setting European life sciences back on course.
The life is being strangled out of the European life sciences industry and this has led to a call for change. While national leaders recognise the need to innovate and see the value in the Lisbon Agenda to create a 'knowledge-based economy' in Europe, these messages of encouragement do little to affect the reality of the daily survival for most of Europe's ambitious fledgling biotechnology firms: they don't help them raise money in difficult markets; they don't help generate revenue; and they don't help find and retain highly qualified staff. The problem is the huge gap between the rhetoric of Europe's leaders and the intricacies of turning research into commercial and social benefits. Governments can help small companies by making it easier for them to do business: they can apply simple systems for regulations and taxes so companies can focus on innovation and making money instead of having to work through complex interlinked rules of engagement and having to work with complex interlinked networks of advisors and funding schemes.
With the full backing of the EU presidency, EuroBiO 2008 will challenge researchers, industry and politicians to forge the environment that is essential for life sciences to contribute to European prosperity. The main economic players in the Paris region understand the value to be gained by efficient collaboration, the result being the creation of five clusters that will provide one million jobs within the next few years. The clusters will strengthen the Paris region's global competitive position by stimulating research and innovation, with joint R&D projects totalling over €1 billion.
One of EuroBiO's key partners for 2008 is the Council for European BioRegions, an ambitious umbrella group for life science clusters. Its remit is to ensure that in a fragmenting Europe each region doesn't repeat mistakes made elsewhere, and to ensure good sense and good business practices prevail.
EuroBiO 2008 consists of four main pillars. In bringing together over 5,000 experts at the interface of industry and research, the Forum is the largest of its type in Europe, combining highcalibre plenary presentations with a series of structured debates on the challenges facing Europe's bioindustry and bioresearch communities. The results of the debates will be collated and assembled following EuroBiO, circulated to participants as a form of Green Paper containing relevant recommendations for policy and action, and presented after review in a succession of political and media settings. The finished paper will be circulated to all EuroBiO participants and partner organisations, as well as to national and European political groups.
The Career Fair creates an international market place for candidates from research in the life sciences and other disciplines that have a valuable contribution to make to the management of biotechnology companies. The Exhibition brings together large corporations, biotechnology companies, start-ups, leading bioclusters, academic research institutions, CROs and service providers who are shaping and driving Europe's bioindustry. EuroBiOpartnering focuses the spotlight on innovation and best practices and the way in which these drive successful private-public partnerships, technology transfer and the successful meshing of leading European bioclusters.
EuroBiO 2008 is more than one meeting in one city in one country: its challenges will resonate, creating a momentum for events in other years, in other cities, and in other leading life science clusters around Europe.
Everyone should get involved in the debates, share and generate data, and make change happen.