Driving Competitiveness: European Commission’s Biotech Action Agenda

Simona Mazzeo

Belgium (Brussels Morning) – EU Commission unveils a strategic plan to advance biotech and biomanufacturing, addressing challenges and aiming for sustainable innovation and growth.

Today, The European Commission presented a series of targeted actions to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU. The Communication “Building the future with nature” recognises challenges and obstacles and suggests addressing them, in line with the Touch on the EU’s long-term competitiveness. 

Advancements in life sciences, backed by digitalisation and artificial intelligence, and the prospect of biology-based solutions to decode social issues and drive biotechnology and biomanufacturing one of the most profitable technological sectors of this century, can enable the EU to update the agriculture, forestry, energy, food and feed and industry sectors. Furthermore, such technologies can donate to a more competitive and resilient EU, delivering better healthcare to its residents and achieving green and digital transitions.

The EU biotechnology and biomanufacturing sector meets several challenges: research and technology transfer to market, regulatory intricacy, access to finance, talents, value chain barricades, intellectual property, public approval and economic security.

For this reason, the Commission suggests a series of actions, the first of which concerns stimulating research and promoting innovation: To help determine the drivers and bottlenecks of innovation and technology adoption, the Commission has undertaken a study to examine the EU’s position resembled to other world leaders in the generation and transfer of arising biotechnology to the biomanufacturing industry.

To facilitate more efficacious use of research infrastructures, the Commission will explore ways to accelerate the evolution and use of the Industrial Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology Innovation Accelerator as a database and web of reliable digital usefulness for the sector. Another purpose is to stimulate market need: to be successful, bioproducts must indicate their lower environmental influence compared to, for example, petrochemical derivatives. The Commission will thus review the evaluation of fossil- and bio-based products to guarantee equivalence of treatment and will incorporate methodologies for carbon storage in construction materials.

To rev the substitution of fossil raw materials and encourage demand and market uptake of manufactured products, the Commission will undertake an in-depth impact examination of the feasibility of bio-content conditions in specific product categories and public procurement. Furthermore, the Commission will discuss how non-food products of organic origin could reasonably establish themselves via the labelling of bio-based products.

The EU Commission’s unveiling of targeted actions to propel biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU marks a significant stride towards harnessing nature’s potential for future progress. Acknowledging the hurdles and opportunities within this sector aligns with the EU’s overarching goal of bolstering long-term competitiveness. With life sciences advancements, bolstered by digitalization and artificial intelligence, promising transformative solutions to societal challenges, the potential of biotechnology and biomanufacturing emerges as a cornerstone of the 21st-century technological landscape.

Navigating challenges such as research-to-market transitions, regulatory complexities, financial accessibility, talent acquisition, and public acceptance underscores the multifaceted approach needed to unlock the full potential of biotech. The Commission’s proposed actions, spanning from research stimulation to market demand cultivation, present a comprehensive strategy for fostering innovation and market uptake.

Efforts to accelerate research infrastructures and facilitate technology adoption demonstrate a commitment to driving progress. Furthermore, initiatives aimed at enhancing market demand and promoting the uptake of bio-based products underscore the Commission’s dedication to fostering sustainability and resilience. By embracing nature-based solutions and propelling biotechnology forward, the EU stands poised to not only advance its industrial sectors but also to deliver tangible benefits in healthcare, environmental sustainability, and digitalization, ultimately shaping a more competitive and resilient Europe for its citizens.

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Simona Mazzeo is a journalist at Brussels Morning News. She is covering European Parliament, European Council, European Commission & Italy News. She is a law graduate and lawyer residing in Agropoli, has carved out a multifaceted career dedicated to justice and social advocacy. She actively serves as a delegated councilor for the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Bar Association of Vallo della Lucania, championing fair and equal representation within the legal system. Recognized for her expertise and empathy, Simona is qualified for registration in the list of Special Curators of minors in civil and criminal matters at the Court of Vallo della Lucania, ensuring the rights and interests of vulnerable children are protected throughout legal proceedings. Beyond her legal practice, Simona demonstrates a strong commitment to social causes. She is a founding member of the Free Lawyer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing legal assistance to those who cannot afford it. Additionally, she leverages her knowledge and passion for social justice as a non-professional journalist, contributing insightful and informative pieces on relevant legal and societal issues. Through her diverse endeavors, Simona Mazzeo exemplifies dedication to legal excellence, social responsibility, and a fervent belief in equal access to justice for all.