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The biosciences are widely seen as having huge potential to bring benefits in many applications, and fundamental biological topics are now ready for major advances in understanding. Biosciences research is attracting increasing investment from governments and businesses world-wide. But the scale of the societal challenges demands sustained commitment, new multidisciplinary perspectives and collaboration on complex systems. Many scientific and policy-making communities are beginning to recognise the need for new, integrated, ways of thinking and working, and there will be mobilisation of new resources at the international as well as national level.  

The biosciences are highly relevant in policy work on the environment and energy, and these applications are covered by the designated EASAC portfolios on these topics. The objective of the Biosciences portfolio is to explore where the scientific evidence base can help to inform policy development in other priority areas for the European Institutions, particularly in health and agriculture and in the progression of novel technologies with potentially multiple applications.  

The Biosciences portfolio draws on, and extends, previous EASAC expertise in this broad area, currently covering a range of interests:  

  1. Science and policy issues for emerging technologies and their socio-economic impact in the EU; for example, biotechnology, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, personalised medicine.
  2. Other biomedical opportunities and challenges, including translational science and the relationship with innovation.
  3. Animal health and the animal-human health interface.
  4. Plant sciences and related genomics and genetics, with applications for food and agriculture.
  5. Biosecurity, biosafety and other technical and societal concerns related to developments in the biosciences.  

In each case, the focus is on EU policy needs, but it is recognised that similar issues often arise world-wide and individual projects take account of the global context. Frequently, the project remit requires both consideration of the implications of the scientific evidence for policy formulation and the evaluation of the adequacy of the relevant science base.