OXIPRO – Boosting Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing in the EU

In March this year, the European commission proposed a series of targeted actions to boost biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU which is, as stated, “one of the most promising technological areas of this century”.


Biotechnology and biomanufacturing can help the EU to modernize its agriculture, forestry, energy, food and feed sectors and industry. In addition, these technologies can contribute to a more competitive and resilient EU, that provides better healthcare to its citizens, and succeeds in its green and digital transitions.


The biotechnology sector is, however, facing several challenges: research and technology transfer to the market; regulatory complexity; access to finance; skills challeges; value chain obstacles; intellectual property; public acceptance; and economic security, are some of them.


Here we highlight how the OXIPRO partnership is directly addressing several of the actions:


We are leveraging research and boosting innovation through the development of new enzymes for environmentally friendly consumer goods. We are addressing knowledge gaps and build new technologies and new innovations. We collaborate with end-users in the partnership for more efficient technology adoption.


To succeed on the market uptake, OXIPRO is engaging with stakeholders and has adopted sustainability assessments as a strong pillar in the project. Here we are working to verify whether the processes and bio-based products developed are indeed leading to lower environmental impact when compared to, for instance, petrochemical counterparts.


OXIPRO is involved in policy actions to help streamline regulatory pathways and we are delivering policy input. This June we will take part in a Round Table event at EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2024 to present how enzymes can make impactful change and enable greener textile processes. We are also supporting work for a potential EU Biotech Act.


OXIPRO partners are developing and scaling up our innovations by enabling the fermentative production of enzymes at pre-industrial scale and modelling further scale-up to assess the market potential, thereby informing decision making on public and private investments.


Biotech-related skills are strengthened through a number of MSc, PhD and postdoc training schemes at the universities and research institutes, leading to award winning performances. We provide high-skilled training to enable upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and several participants have earned promotions during OXIPRO. At the annual meetings we have established an Early Career Researcher session where our younger scientists researchers can practice dissemination and communication of their scientific progress to increase their impact. Furthermore, we are providing experiential learning experiences at Innovation Boot Camps in which Early Career Researchers are developing skills in defining problems and designing solutions at different technology readiness levels, and which equip participants with essential business skills. We are especially eager to promote women  in science.


OXIPRO has started adopting standardization principles by providing training on standardization, as well as sharing practices and means of protocols and standard operating procedures.


OXIPRO is supporting collaboration and synergies by engaging in the “Enzymes Cluster for Greener Products” initiative with three sister projects (RadicalZ, FutureEnzyme and EnXylaScope) that have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Together, the four sister projects issue a joint biannual newsletter, ‘The Active Site’, and join international conferences, co-create on innovation, co-work on scientific achievements and participate in science-policy events.


OXIPRO is fostering engagement and international cooperation through Horizon EU partnerships. We have engaged a highly skilled Advisory Board of EU experts with extensive track records in past research programs and infrastructure initiatives, and who are linked to European Cooperation in Science and Technology (EU COST) for building research and innovation networks in computational engineering.


To accelerate the uptake of AI and democratize its usage, OXIPRO has integrated and developed novel machine learning methodologies into an open access intelligent platform for sequence recognition in enzyme discovery and to predict impact of mutations in enzyme development. To facilitate uptake, OXIPRO is contributing to network and capacity building in computational enzyme engineering, and collaborating with the EU-COST Action COZYME.


Finally, OXIPRO is working on providing policy-input based on policy-relevant research results for the Commission to inform their upcoming review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy by the end of 2025.


OXIPRO is dedicated to further boosting biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU in its final year and looks forward to making an impact.

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