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Europe needs collective effort on System Biology, says ESF Task Force
Date:9/10/2007

e developed and tested in smaller organisms and then scaled up to humans. Equally, the Task Force recommends that to begin with, particular topics on a common theme are chosen, such as cancer or obesity, and generic technology is produced that can then be applied to other areas.

To organise research in Europe, the Task Force recommends dividing funded research into two sub-themes: Systems Biotechnology and Multifactorial Diseases. These should be connected to, and incorporate, existing research programmes in Europe.

To achieve these goals, a massive workforce from many difference disciplines will be needed.

We need scientists that can understand both sides of the Systems Biology coin: biologists that can handle equations and physical scientists that know their way around in experimental biology, says Professor Westerhoff. The Task Force recommends that more support is given to existing Systems Biology training and exchange programmes so that scientists from other disciplines are attracted to our field.

The Europe-wide network will also need hubs; European reference laboratories allowing any researcher to conduct high quality research, even if their home institution cannot support it. These should also distribute standard experimental procedures, samples and datasets to ensure that everyone in the network is working in the same way. Similarly, Institutes of Advanced Studies should be established to host short-duration, focused programmes for researchers from across Europe.

The Task force has also suggested the ESF should support the overseeing of this network by continuing to support and host the establishment of a consortium of interested parties and support a European Systems Biology Office.

Recommendations

1. A task force of representatives from organisations investing in, or soon to invest, in Systems Biology should be established, supported by a European Systems Biology Office.

2. The task force will then:

  • Initia
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Contact: Thomas Lau
tlau@esf.org
33-388-762-158
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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