European Innovation Convention: New Commission initiatives acknowledge the essential role of biotechnology in overcoming economic crisis in Europe


Brussels, December 7th 2011

EuropaBio welcomes three major announcements that were made this week during the European Commission’s first ever Innovation Convention launched by President Barroso and convened by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn with the aim of “bridging the gap between good ideas and bringing products to market”.

One of the highlights of the Convention was the EU Women Innovators Prize, which saw first and second place awarded to founders of biotechnology companies. Dr Fabienne Hermitte, co-founder of IPSOGEN received second prize for her work as a pioneer in personalised healthcare diagnostics, which allow more individualises treatments for cancer patients. Dr Gitte Neubauer, co-founder of CELLZOME was awarded the first prize for her ground-breaking research into chemo-proteomics and targeted medicine against inflammatory diseases and cancer.

During the event, the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Scottish Government, Professor Anne Glover, was named as the first ever European Chief Scientific Advisor. She will provide independent scientific advice to President Barroso throughout all stages of policy development in Europe. Professor Glover holds a Personal Chair of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Aberdeen, and has honorary positions at the Rowett and Macaulay Institutes. This important appointment is additional proof of the Commission's commitment to ensure that responsible science and innovation dominate Europe's quest to kick start growth and respond to our most pressing societal challenges. Life science and biotechnology will continue to play a central role in ensuring that research, education and innovation lead to processes and products that are beneficial to our society and our economy now and in the future.

Moreover, the opening of the Convention was marked by the significant agreement between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to launch a new guarantee facility for innovative SMEs, building on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) launched in 2007. In signing the agreement, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated: “Investing in research and innovation carried out by SMEs means that we will have more growth, sustainability and competitiveness in Europe”. The Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI) will be managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and is expected to unlock a further €6 billion in loans until 2013. EuropaBio believes that it is essential that the commission continues to recognise the importance of capital intensive innovative biotech SMEs in driving economic growth by clearly differentiating between innovative and non-innovative SMEs.

Talking about the event Andrea Rappagliosi, Chair of EuropaBio’s Board Innovation Task Force stated: “As President Barroso and Commissioners Geoghegan-Quinn and Tajani clearly stressed, innovation is central to creating jobs and sustaining economic growth. Today, we are pleased to see that the strategic role of biotechnology as a key enabler for implementing the European Growth Agenda has been confirmed by the Commission awarding two biotech researchers with the top prizes for the Women Innovators Award and by the appointment of the first ever Chief Science Advisor who has a strong background in life sciences.”


About EuropaBio (the European Association for Bioindustries): 

EuropaBio's, mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology based industry in Europe. Founded in 1996, to provide a voice for the biotech industry at an EU level, EuropaBio represents corporate and associate members operating worldwide, as well as bioregions and national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 SMEs.


For further information please contact:

Rosalind Travers
Communications and Associations Liaison Officer
Tel: +32 2 739 1173
Mobile: +32 478 680 301

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