German Biotechnology Days held in Wiesbaden – the magic is back
Some 750 participants gathered at the German Biotechnology Days in Wiesbaden from 28 to 29 March for the annual exchange and networking event, marking a return to pre-pandemic attendance levels. This came almost as a surprise, considering the general strike that took place the day before the conference. The industry’s annual “reunion” not only focused on discussing current biotechnology issues, but also provided an opportunity to exchange views and ideas with industry professionals and policy makers. In his video greeting, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck emphasised that biotechnology was an area close to his heart. Biotechnology brings together the economy, climate protection and innovation and is a game-changing technology, the Federal Minister said. During the plenary session, Hesse’s Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir engaged in an in-depth discussion with industry experts about issues revolving around the bioeconomy, biomass and material life cycles. His State Secretary, Philipp Nimmermann, opened the conference by saying that “the potential of biotechnology is huge”.
The programme of the two-day event highlighted the broad range of application areas in which biotechnology, a key technology of the 21st century, is used. The emphasis this year was on a bio-based sustainable economy, the bioeconomy and the circular economy, but other topics included medical biotechnology, digitalization and skilled worker shortages. The numerous experts in attendance agreed that Germany is well placed to play a leading international role, which the German government has defined as a goal of its Future Strategy. However, they believe it is essential that policy makers set the right conditions now to enable this to be achieved. In his keynote speech, Jochen Maas, Head of Research at Sanofi Germany, warned that something had to change, as Germany is losing ground in international competition. Stefanie Heiden, Professor of Innovation Research and member of the German government’s Bioeconomy Council, spoke forcefully of the need to ensure the financing of the industry over the long term, also pointing out that private investors must be involved. Another keynote speech was given by social entrepreneur Manouchehr Shamsrizi. We in Germany are “secretly clever” when it comes to biotechnology, Shamsrizi said. He suggested using the right narratives to make biotechnology better known. He also talked about the sense of magic that the industry and technology could evoke, stressing that this required special communications. Our sustainability goals can only be achieved through biotechnology, he said.
The 13th German Biotechnology Days were supported by platinum sponsors Boehringer Ingelheim, Eckelmann, EBD Group, FGK Clinical Research, Miltenyi Biotec, Mittelstand Global – Made in Germany export initiative, QIAGEN and Rentschler Biopharma.
The German Biotechnology Days are jointly organised by BIO Deutschland and the Council of German BioRegions as well as changing regional hosts. Hessen Trade & Invest and Technologieland Hessen were the regional hosts of DBT 2023, and the partner region was the InfectoGnostics Research Campus Jena and Thuringian ClusterManagement.
The next edition of the German Biotechnology Days is scheduled to take place on 16 and 17 April 2024 in Berlin.