The event was also attended by Maria Elvira Zuñiga, Director of the Regional Centre for Healthy Food Studies (CREAS, Centro Regional de Estudios en Alimentos Saludables) and Etienne Choupay, Director of Academic Cooperation at PUCV.
The activity was organized by the European Union Programme and CONICYT’S International Relations Department Liaison Office
The Biocircle Project aims to create a network of National Contact Points for this thematic area and thus increase participation of researchers from non-European countries in the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7FP).
In Europe, the experts attended the following activities sponsored by the Biocircle Project and the European Commission:
• Info Day and Brokerage Event in Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology (13 September).
• International Conference: “Knowledge-Based Bioeconomy towards 2020: Turning Challenges into Opportunities” (14 September).
• “Biocircle Conference: Growing Together for an Innovative Knowledge-Based Bioeconomy” (15 September).
The Info Day and Brokerage Event intended to get researchers and public and private actors from the EU and from third countries together for an information exchange opportunity. Moreover, an Information Day to promote the open calls of the Work Programme for 2011 in FAFB and a session for sharing project ideas and creating contacts for applications to open calls were also carried out.
The Biocircle Conference was held in support of the Europe 2020 strategy on Innovation and Competitiveness for "Smart and Sustainable Growth", and was made up of two parts: The first part consisted of a Global Round Table to discuss third countries' research priorities in Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology, and shared interests with the EU. The second part was a seminar on how to get small and medium businesses more involved in Seventh Framework Programme research projects.
The Chilean participants presented their work in the Round Table. Reinaldo Campos, expert in post-harvest processes of fruits and vegetables represented Chile in the Food session; Erick Zagal, President of the Chilean Society of Soil Sciences presented in the Agriculture and Fisheries session; and Gonzalo Ruiz, expert in bio-processes, represented the country in the session about Biotechnology.
Erick Zagal highlighted the “significant coincidences between the third countries with regard to research priorities in the different production areas, regardless the diversity among them”.
Gonzalo Ruiz, in turn, considered the Conference held on 14 September on knowledge-based bioeconomy to be particularly remarkable. “A study was presented on the global projection in terms of energy and food: they are horrifying. The good news is that, somehow, people are expecting a ‘biotechnology revolution’. This, together with education, is supposed to help change the existing trend, thus enhancing life quality expectations for 2050”.
Reinaldo Campos considered the scientific mission to be highly beneficial, as it allowed him to “get a direct approach to ideas and feelings behind the texts one finds on a Web page or in a folder”. Face to face contact allows you to “get to know un-transmitted emphases and complexities”, he highlighted. Also, he values the opportunity of meeting colleagues from non-European countries who are working on similar areas and looking for partners in the same research line.
An appealing new concept was that of “bioeconomy”. Erick Zagal appreciates being able to attend presentations on “political and business interventions to understand strategies that in Europe are currently considered in regard to ‘bioeconomy’ (sustainable economy), and seeing how this concept is already consolidated in government policies of various European countries”.
Biocircle is a project financed by the European Commission that aims to create a network of National Contact Points (NCP) in the area of Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology (FAFB) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7FP). Its purpose is to increase participation of researchers from non-European countries in this area of the 7FP.
The Biocircle project gathers NCPs from 18 non-European countries, and institutions from 6 European countries. This consortium, led by the Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (APRE), commenced operations in October, 2008 and will be operative for 24 months. CONICYT is a partner of the Biocircle project.
About the Seventh Framework Programme
The European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7FP) is the EU’s main instrument for financing research in Europe. It defines the EU’s research policy for the 2007-2013 period, and aims to promote scientific collaboration between Europe and the non-European countries by financing research projects and supporting mobility of scientists. 7FP supports research in selected priority areas.