New NWO-Top Sector research programme ‘Building Blocks of Life’

A new public-private partnership research programme called ‘Building blocks of life’ has recently been launched. Collaborations between industry, knowledge institutions and social organizations are essential to undertake the large challenges that lie ahead in the area of life sciences. The NWO programme 'Building Blocks of Life' is truly cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral and provides the unique opportunity to shape the innovative Dutch landscape. The Netherlands holds a strong position in life sciences and this programme provides a great possibility for industry and science to jointly propel innovation to maintain and reinforce Dutch (knowledge)position in this dynamic and innovative field.

Challenging innovations

Our understanding of the molecular basis of life has increased dramatically through recent technological breakthroughs in physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and systems analysis of massive data files. In the coming years, the Building Blocks of Life program will integrate this knowledge to facilitate a decisive step in the fundamental understanding of the molecular building blocks comprising cellular systems and new application perspectives. Challenging innovations can be foreseen in many key areas: health care (e.g. personalized medicine), qualitatively and quantitatively improved food supply, sustainable crop production, hybrid techno-biological systems, new materials and intelligent robots based on neural networks, and organisms working under extreme circumstances. These innovations are crucial for the Dutch economic potential  and address important social issues. Emphasis will also be placed on the social impact and ethical reflection.

The long-term urgent challenges addressed with 'Building Blocks of Life' fit very well with the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda's of the participating Topsectors, Agri & Food, Chemicals, HTSM, Life Sciences & Health and Horticulture & Propagating stock. Furthermore, the questions addressed with this programme are well embedded in the Dutch National Science Agenda.

Industry and entrepreneurs are also invited to join!

Submission of research proposals

In the first quarter of 2016, NWO will publish the first call for proposals for interdisciplinary research proposals in the area of the understanding and design of building blocks of life. NWO provides an expected budget of M€ 10 to stimulate public-private partnerships. With this call NWO anticipates to realise excellent groundbreaking research by forming durable interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with public and private partners.

Further details of the call for proposals will be announced at a later stage on the NWO website.