Biotechnology creates value:
First national strategy for biotechnology
Biotechnology will lead to new tools for enhancing value creation, improving health, and protecting the environment. This is the vision of the first strategy for biotechnology, presented by the Norwegian Government.
Biotechnology plays a key role in efforts to find solutions to many of the global challenges of our time, and will have impacts on various aspects of society.
Norway’s national strategy for biotechnology has been drawn up by six ministries in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway.
In line with Research Council focus
“Norway’s new biotechnology strategy emphasises innovation and business development,” says Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, Executive Director of the Division for Strategic Priorities at the Research Council of Norway. “This is also the focus of the Research Council’s new BIOTEK2021 programme. Thanks to the Large-scale Programme on Functional Genomics in Norway (FUGE), which is now drawing to a close, we have a very strong foundation for succeeding in future biotechnology activities.”
“The biotechnology strategy provides an updated overview of the state-of-the-art and opportunities in this field. For our part, we will follow it up through the Research Council’s open competitive arenas – the funding scheme for independent basic research projects (FRIPRO) and the programme for User-driven Research-based Innovation (BIA) – through thematic programmes targeting biobanks and bio-based industries, and not least through the new BIOTEK2021 initiative.”
“Health, the oceans, agriculture and the environment are areas we will prioritise,” continues Ms Fahlvik. “Within these fields we will build upon existing competencies and infrastructure, promote industrial development, ensure close international cooperation, and facilitate the dialogue between the biotechnology community and society.”
Addressing societal challenges
Some of the greatest challenges facing humankind in the coming decades will be ensuring a global supply of food, energy and health care services.
“Biotechnology opens up many new opportunities for meeting these challenges. Norway needs to participate in and contribute to international knowledge development,” stated Tora Aasland, Minister of Research and Higher Education, at the new strategy’s launch.
The strategy identifies four priority areas where biotechnology can help to meet the challenges ahead, and where Norway has national competitive advantages:
- Aquaculture, seafood and marine resources management
- Agriculture-based food and biomass production
- Environment-friendly industrial processes and products
- Health, health care services and health-related business activities
NOK 175 million
The strategy is being followed up with more than NOK 175 million in annual allocations for research activities under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway. This includes nearly NOK 90 million for the new BIOTEK2021 programme, NOK 35 million for marine bioprospecting, and NOK 50 million for projects targeting biotechnology in the open competitive arenas.
In addition the Government intends to allocate a total of NOK 110 million over the next four years for human biobanks and health data. This will support biotechnological research and the effort to promote better health and enhance health care services.
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