Today’s guest blog post is by Nathalie Moll, the Secretary General of EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries
Biotechnology means using biological processes, organisms or systems to develop products intended to improve the quality of human life. I have been active in and passionate about the field since I was a teenager, because no other technology enhances quality of life, knowledge, innovation, productivity and environmental protection like biotechnology. From new drugs that can address unmet medical needs and fight epidemics and rare diseases and industrial processes that use renewable feed stocks instead of crude oil, to drought-resistant crops that allow farmers around the world to feed more people under ever-harsher climatic conditions - promoting and investing in biotech pays economic, social and environmental dividends.
This is why biotechnology has been a cornerstone of Europe's competitiveness in terms of research and innovation as well as in terms of industrial growth, number of jobs and new companies for numerous years. However, we need to ensure this will continue and that Europe not only remains the world's biotech research hub, but that European citizens also reap the benefits of innovative biotech products derived from that research.
To that end awareness-raising is essential: enabling people across Europe to learn about biotech and how it is helping to create a healthier, greener, more productive and more sustainable economy is key. We launched European Biotech Week three years ago with this goal in mind and the third edition will kick-off on Monday 12 October across a record 14 European countries. Its previous two editions (in 2013 and 2014) featured over 200 events and activities that showcased the science, people, companies and other organisations active in the various biotech sectors.
Our role at EuropaBio is to promote and coordinate the week by providing a platform for biotech stakeholders to pool their events. This makes European Biotech Week an open, inclusive and free for all initiative. It’s the people, organisations and companies who care about or are active in biotech that make the week happen. Those involved raise awareness of this amazing technology across Europe in whatever way best fits with their mission and resources. This means the activities this week and in previous editions are as varied as the stakeholders themselves: from policy events, to media briefings, to open doors in companies and research institutes, career fairs, flashmobs, theatre shows, competitions, children’s activities, social gatherings and many more. You can find the summaries of all events in the post-week magazines of 2013 and 2014.
I invite you to visit the dedicated website on www.biotechweek.org for this year’s edition and see if there are any events happening near you that may be of interest, or to get involved in the initiative’s social media campaign under the hashtag #biotechweek. And don’t forget to circle the week of 26th of September 2016 in your agenda as the enthusiasm shown by all biotech supporters will once again take centre stage during next year’s edition of European Biotech Week!