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16 new transnational projects to address global challenges

21 May 2010

Brand new projects are launched this week in Paris to address global challenges such as food security and healthy ageing, and aim to tackle diseases including cancer, TB and liver disease. The projects involve partner organisations across Europe and are funded under the ERASysBio+ scheme, which includes Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funding for 13 of the 16 projects, which all include at least 1 UK partner. BBSRC's investment is €7.7M out of a total investment of €24M.

All 16 projects use a systems biology approach - studying any biological system such that processes are observed and modelled in an integrated manner - to answer questions about a range of globally important topics. The 16 consortia involve a total of 85 research groups from 14 different countries. There are 18 UK based groups involved in 13 projects that are all receiving funding from BBSRC.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said: "Systems biology is a fantastically powerful approach and very versatile - as demonstrated by the range of projects funded through ERASysBio+. These projects not only bring together disciplines, but also countries and this is the sort of collaborative working that is becoming increasingly important. If we are to make the best use of our bioscience knowledge, expertise and facilities in the UK then we absolutely must share them with colleagues outside the UK and in other fields such as mathematics, computing, chemistry and physics."

UK partnered projects tackling food security include FRIM (University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University) and iSAM (Cardiff University); LINCONET (University of Birmingham) looks at an aspect of healthy ageing and there are ten projects with UK partners that explore the bioscience underpinning health - SYNERGY (University of Manchester), SynProt (University of Southampton and University of Edinburgh), LymphoSys (MRC National Institute for Medical Research), SHIPREC (Royal Holloway University of London and St George's University of London), GRAPPLE (University of Liverpool and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge), EpiGenSys (University of Oxford), C5Sys (UCL and Warwick Systems Biology), ApoNET (Imperial College London), livSYSiPS (Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre) and TB-HOST-NET (University of Surrey).

Details of the projects are here:


About ERASysBio

ERASysBio is a transnational funding initiative, within the ERA-Net scheme, that brings together 16 ministries and funding agencies from 13 countries to coordinate their national research programmes in systems biology and agree on a common European research agenda. The initiative aims to promote the consolidation of systems biology research, stimulating the widespread adoption of systems approaches in biotechnology, biomedicine and agri-food.

ERASysBio+ is the second call for proposals under the scheme and involves partners in Germany, Austria, Finland, France, Isreal, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, UK and Luxembourg. Non-partner countries involved in this are Italy, Iceland, USA and South Africa.


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Studies (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382