Biosystems technology, the by-product of biology and microsystems components interfacing, addresses modern biotechnology and medicine concerns in developed countries. For its part, the EU-funded project Boost Biosystems seeks to fuel cooperation between academia and industry in the cross-disciplinary field of biosystems technologies in the ScanBelt BioRegion, the life science metacluster in the Baltic Sea region. Funding for the project stands at EUR 444 208.
To date, the project partners have succeeded in setting up around 12 proposals or collaborations. Project coordinator Dr Frank Graage, from Steinbeis team Northeast, said: 'The project informed over 200 actors about biosystem potential in various regional events and assisted 45 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in setting up EU FP7 proposals or collaborations in the biosystems field.'
Boost Biosystems, according to the partners, is helping establish critical mass, creating a platform for knowledge transfer in the field, integrating emerging economies of new EU Member States, and bolstering SMEs. By making headway and intensifying research and technology development (RTD) cooperation between academia and SMEs, Boost Biosystems is raising the awareness of biosystems technology and increasing the competitiveness of SMEs. The project partners say that while the SMEs have the potential to promote innovation, they also need the support from academia and industry to bring their work to fruition.
A key focus area with a lot of potential for the region is 'new diagnostics', said the project partners. An example of this is the Baltic Center of Innovative Diagnostics by ScanBalt Knowledge Network Molecular Diagnostics. The partners say this centre will be the place where future cooperation deals will be clinched. Not only has Boost Biosystems already connected stakeholders and project participants with potential partners in the region, but it has provided know-how in the management of EU projects.
Another key example is the latest Finnish cluster strategy intensifying cooperation between HealthBIO, Nano- and ICT clusters, effectively making the strategy comply with the interdisciplinary approach of biosystems and new diagnostics.
Insufficient cooperation between actors and the general lack of knowledge of users, like clinicians, suppliers and markets, has proved troublesome for getting innovative biosystems technologies to the sectors. And so the lacklustre implementation of biosystems technologies leaves a void across the different fields.
Boost Biosystems is targeting biosystems technology in Life Science and Biotechnology, and eyeing technical and disease-related aspects. These include diagnostics, pharmacogenomics and in vitro tests.
Boost Biosystems' results and success stories were presented at the Seventh ScanBalt Forum and Biomaterials in Vilnius, Lithuania in September. Forum participants got a taste of how ScanBalt members seek to establish an SME support service that would back SMEs in transnational collaborations and EU research proposals.
Boost Biosystems is comprised of six partners, specifically Steinbeis Northeast (project coordinator, Germany), ScanBalt, Norgenta GmbH (Germany), Tartu Biotechnology Park (Estonia), Culminatum Ltd (Finland) and Center of Technology Transfer (Poland).