Since 1990, the EU-US Task Force on Biotechnology Research has been coordinating transatlantic efforts to promote research on biotechnology and its applications for the benefit of society. The Task Force was established in June 1990 by the European Commission and the White House Office of Science and Technology.
The Task Force has acted as an effective forum for discussion, for coordination and for developing new ideas. Task Force serves as an important think-tank. It focuses on the future of biotechnology and challenges the scientific communities on both sides of the Atlantic to expand their thinking beyond specific scientific disciplines. The dialogue has been further broadened by including social scientists in all activities.
Task Force members are European Commission and US Government science and technology administrators who meet annually to enhance communication across the Atlantic, and to encourage collaborative research. Through sponsoring workshops, and other activities, the Task Force also brings together scientific leaders and early career researchers from Europe and the United States to forecast research challenges and opportunities and to promote better links between researchers. Over the years, by keeping a focus on the future of science, the Task Force has played a key role in establishing a diverse range of emerging scientific fields, including bioinformatics (1992), neuroinformatics (1993) nanobiotechnology (a new term coined by the Task Force in 1997), neonatal immunology, transkingdom molecular biology (2003), obesity (2006), synthetic biology (2006), systems biology (2007) marine genomics (2007) and applications of biotechnology to sustainable energy(2008).
In 2009, the Task Force organised a total of seven initiatives amongst which workshops, seminars and courses covering a wide range of subjects such as virtual tissues, obesity, animal bio-informatics, synthetic biology, plant bio-informatics and women leadership in biotechnology research.
In 2011, the Task Force and related working groups developed a
Strategic Plan (2011-2015) ( 267 KB) that is bold and visionary and elaborates on different opportunities to explore new and innovative ways to collaborate in the future. Initiatives which will complete 2011 Task Force activities are the short course on "Microbial Catalysts for the Environment" which took place in Lausanne, September 2011; the workshop on "Sustainability of Biomass Production for Bioenergy", Illinois, October 2011 and the workshop on "Priorities to Realize the Promise of Genomics to Animal Health, Well Being & Production" to be hold in Beltsville, November 2011.
Five-Year Strategic Plan (2011-2015)
Read the interviews by US and EU Task Force representatives to "International Innovation: Healthcare" magazine (October 2010 issue 2041-4551)
Judith St John, U.S. Co-Chair of the EU-US Task Force on Biotechnology Research