SYNBIOLOGY: An Analysis of Synthetic Biology Research in Europe and North America

Duration: 15 months

Coordinator: Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação, S.A. (Portugal)

Contact Person:

Prof. Augusto Eduardo Guimarães de Medina
Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação 
Consultadoria Empresarial e Fomento de Inovação
Rua de Júlio Dinis 242-2º-208
4050-318 Porto, Portugal
e-mail: augustomedina[at]
tel: +351 22 60 76 400
fax: +351 22 60 99 164


  • Centre for Economic Research and Environmental Strategy (Greece)
  • ATG: Biosynthetics (Germany)
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County (United States)


Project Description:

In order to meet the goals set at the Lisbon Summit, March 2000, to prepare Europe’s transition to becoming the most competitive, dynamic, knowledge-based economy in the world, significant emphasis must be placed on scientific research and technology development. This was further emphasized at the Barcelona European Council in 2002, which determined an effort was needed to accelerate Europe’s investment in research to a level of 3 percent of GDP by 2010. To accomplish this level of investment in research, there must be consistent growth through leveraging opportunities. Synthetic biology – the development of biological components that do not naturally exist and the re-modelling of existing biological elements – is a key and rapidly growing scientific research and innovation sector. To maximize the value to Europe of such research, a firm understanding of the level of research desired and the factors needed to reach that level is required so that the EC has the opportunity to produce an environment that fosters synthetic biology research which is most beneficial to the EU as a whole. The project will identify key attributes of synthetic biology research in Europe, the United States and Canada, and determine potential differences in research environments (including funding arrangements) across European countries and the United States/Canada that impact the level and nature of synthetic biology research and the potential short–run and long–run commercial possibilities.This will be accomplished through a comprehensive study that includes a detailed review of studies, and survey of Key Stakeholders representing research, industry and government. The results will be used as a basis on which the EC can provide policy and funding options to maximize the effectiveness of its synthetic biology support. The results will be disseminated widely to policy makers and synthetic biology sector participants via a seminar, an interactive website and other dissemination activities.

(source: Cordis Nest Pathfinder projects 2003-2006)