Europe's leading life science researchers are to convene for the first annual EuroBioForum in Helsinki, Finland 14-15 December to discuss how to move forward on life science topics ranging from the production of hydrogen via artificial photosynthesis to learning how to survive without water.
In addition to providing a platform for key scientists to present proposals, EuroBioForum, organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF), together with the European Commission, will also act as a networking event and facilitate brokerage between researchers and funders.
Top speakers from within life sciences such as Frank Gannon, executive director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), will be present at a roundtable discussion on the future of the European Research Area (ERA). Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust will also present a talk on strengthening the role of life sciences in Europe.
Particularly topical proposals which require a coordinated approach on the European level include 'Solar-H'. This ambitious proposal aims to integrate two previously divergent fields - artificial photosynthesis in man-made systems, and photobiological H2 production in living organisms, in what is considered a truly bold scientific step. In addition to providing a clean source of fuel, the research may allow scientists to develop bio-mimetic compounds and improve the H2 production capabilities of organisms.
DryLife, another research activity which will be presented, is set to unravel the mysteries of desiccation - the process by which certain plants are able to enter a state of suspended animation where life processes become undetectable. When dry, desiccation tolerant organisms are resistant to extremes of temperature, radiation and pressure, and ageing is reduced or eliminated. There is, therefore, considerable scope for the industrial application of the desiccation process.