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The European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) —with collaboration from Biocat, the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom and biotech company Novozymes— is organizing the first Applied Synthetic Biology in Europe congress from 6 to 8 February 2012 in Barcelona.

Synthetic biology is an emerging field of research that combines science and engineering. Although is encompasses different approaches, methodologies and disciplines, the common aim is to design and construct new biological functions and systems that are not found in nature. It is increasingly relevant to the biotechnology sector, and current challenges include designing new pharmaceutical products, environmental biotechnology, biofuel, new biocatalysts and sustainable food sources.

The congress will be held in Barcelona and focus on European research in microbial and plant synthetic biology targeted to the needs of the biotechnology industry. The program is structured into plenary lectures, with guest speakers from European laboratories, and 15-minute presentations by researchers from research centers who will present their latest work.

Participants from academic institutions and employees of companies that are Institutional Members of the EFB are eligible for discounted registration rates. There will also be €200 grants to defray the cost for participating students, as long as a senior member of the same group registers for the event at the normal fee. These grants are limited to one person per institution.

Dates: 6 to 8 February 2012
Place: UAB-Casa Convalescència • C/ Sant Antoni M. Claret, 171 • Barcelona (map)

The BioBricks Foundation in the USA is a pioneer in raising awareness around the world of breakthroughs in synthetic biology, particularly those in the USA. Despite the interest in this topic within the scientific community, according to the EFB, Europe hasn’t been as organized in forging solid links between the industrial biotechnology sector and basic research. To this end, the EFB aims to create a new group within the Microbial Physiology Section to promote breakthroughs in synthetic biology.

The latest large congress held by the EFB in Barcelona was Symbiosis: science, industry and society, in 2009, co-organized by Biocat.

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