Never short of ambition, the EU-US Task Force on Biotechnology Research has set itself a difficult mandate. It seeks to anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s science, today. To achieve such a challenging goal requires effective transatlantic communication and collaboration.
That is why the Task Force aims “to promote information exchange and coordination between biotechnology research programmes funded by the European Commission and the United States government”.
The Task Force was originally conceived as a medium that scientists and science administrators could use as a think-tank about the future of biotechnology research. It was seen as a means of “increasing the mutual understanding of US and European Community activities and programmes related to biotechnology research”.
Since its inception, the Task Force has organised scientific workshops and short courses, and arranged the exchange of scientific personnel. But it has evolved into much more than simply “talking shop.” Its work straddles 11 orders of magnitude – from the biosphere of the land and the oceans, through the genetic make-up of humans, animals, plants and microbes, to biotechnology on the nanoscale.
The Task Force’s voice is heard far and wide on both sides of the Atlantic. It helps set the research agenda by the United States Government and the European Commission.
By raising awareness of the funding opportunities in Europe and the United States, it boosts transatlantic collaboration in the spirit of the EU-US Science and Technology Agreement.
The Task Force has also been a major driving force towards the establishment of virtual global laboratories without walls by promoting the sharing of data and results between US and EU research teams.