Since its first edition in 2013, EuropaBio’s European Biotech Week has established itself as a week of celebrations of life sciences and biotechnology, taking place annually all across the continent at the end of September, and this year was no exception: from September 26 to October 2, 15 European countries hosted almost 100 biotech-focused activities and events (94 in total) that educated, engaged and excited local communities all over Europe.
Biotech and life sciences associations (at national and local level), but also schools, universities, research centres, government institutions, companies and science museums (for a total of 106 organizations) partnered for the 10th edition of the European Biotech Week.
Target audiences included students (across all age groups), researchers, investors, companies, policy makers and the general public. Initiatives throughout the week were as diverse as the organisers themselves, and included: conferences, debates, workshops, job fairs, exhibitions and site-visits with companies, research institutes and museums (online, on-site and in hybrid formats).
The aim of the #EuropeanBiotechWeek was to encourage the general public to dive into biotechnology, which is a key part of our everyday lives. In this perspective, EuropaBio hosted multiple virtual events in Brussels around the benefits of biotech for people and planet:
- Biotechnology for society, sustainability and economies – transformative science for a changing world | The kick-off webinar opened the week with a look at biotechnology as the centre of Europe’s transformation to a healthy, sustainable and competitive economy and society. Four EuropaBio Board Members from across Europe’s biotechnology spectrum (Patricia Malarkey – DSM, Stefan Buchholz – Evonik, Tom Bols – PTC Therapeutics, Annemiek Verkamman – HollandBio) discussed biotech in action and its benefits in our everyday lives, as well as how it supports employment, economic development and Europe’s place in the world.
- Innovative technologies in the EU green transition – spotlight on industrial biotechnology | The second virtual event focused on innovative solutions that can contribute towards the green transition, with an emphasis on industrial biotechnology. The three panelists (Marc Leclerc – Novozymes, Rachel Melnick – Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, Hans Genee – Biosyntia) zoomed in on products of industrial biotechnology and their benefits and challenges, also linking to the EU GMO regulatory framework and recent developments on new genomic techniques.
- At the cutting edge of biotechnology for cardiovascular diseases: a World Heart Day special edition webinar | The last webinar (held on World Heart Day) highlighted how healthcare biotechnology has the potential to transform how healthcare is delivered to patients, both in terms of innovative treatments, but also via use of innovative prevention, screening, and testing measures. The speakers (Marius Geanta – FH Europe, Florian Kronenberg – Medical University of Innsbruck, Lena Lymperopoulou – Novartis) discussed how biomarker testing for genetically inherited risk factors for cardiovascular diseases is opening up new frontiers in healthcare, and saving lives across the world.
EuropaBio Director-General, Claire Skentelbery, commended: “We recognise how important it is to engage with everybody in Europe on the benefits and potential of biotechnology. It is fantastic to see more and more experts engaging in communication about science and involving non-scientists. It gives us great pride in EuropaBio to see that communities across Europe have learnt more about this complex and exciting sector, and we wholeheartedly thank all the biotech supporters who have contributed to this year’s amazing programme.”