14 December 2012

NEWSPAPER: Science Minister Demands Innovation - Synbio is the Answer

Center for Synthetic Biology is singled out as an exemplary interdisciplinary research constellation with great innovation potential in a 20 page Research and Innovation supplement to Berlingske. The Minister for Science introduces the supplement by discussing the need for research and education as a source for innovation, that can solve some of our major societal challenges. 

In his introduction to the supplement, Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard explains how innovative research spanning experts from different disciplines and institutions increases the dissemination of knowledge and therefore increases innovative, applied solutions to societal challenges.
As described on page 4, Center for Synthetic Biology is a sucessful model for this innovation strategy. At the Center, crossdisciplinary researchers have developed a  system of solar powered cell factories. The basic principle consists of transferring the plant cells' ability to produce natural substances to the chloroplasts. Here, using photosynthesis, the harvested solar energy is chanelled directly into the production of high-value natural substances such as cancer drugs, bioplastics or raw materials, without the use of fossil fules.

Further, Østergaard states how innovative research based on collaboration between educational instututions and industry encourages innovation which is accompanied by  job creation, and educational and economic growth in Denmark. 

Scientists at the Center for Synthetic Biology and at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences are currently involved in a fruitful partnership with ingredients company Evolva. The project involves producing the vanilla flavor-compound vanillin in a more sustainable manner, as it is currently mainly derived from oil. 

Professor Birger Lindberg Møller, Director of Center For Synthetic Biology, believes that the project would not have come so far without the excellent expertise contributed by each partner. More so, Professor Møller explains that since this type of well-functioning collaboration is so inspiring, the results often come in leaps and bounds.