#NewMember | "We consider it a priority to be part of AseBio. It is a key driver of biotech and a leader in opinion generation and dissemination"

Meet the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP, UPM-INIA/CSIC), our new member. We spoke to Antonio Molina, director of the entity

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AseBio. What does your institution's work bring to the table and what is its strength?

Antonio Molina. The Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP), on of the Centre of Excellence Severo Ochoa of Spain, brings to AseBio the vision of Academia(UPM and INIA/CSIC) about the challenges of Plant Biotechnology and agriculture sustainability, and our opinion about what would be the needs of the sector to resolve these challenges.  CBGP has several strengths like its unique research programs, its innovation initiative called CBGP-SusLUTIONS and the international cooperation with key drivers of biotech R&I. 

AseBio. What is AseBio for you?

Antonio Molina. AseBio is a key driver of the Biotechnology in Spain and Europe, and a leader in the generation of opinion and disseminating the potential of biotech to resolve society needs. Our experience is that AseBio is consider by the public actors (Government, politicians, investors, consumers, etc.) one essential player that must be heard and that can contribute with its proposals to respond to social challenges that biotechnology can contribute to resolve.

AseBio. When did you first hear about AseBio?

Antonio Molina. We know about AseBio since its origin and before the foundation of the CBGP on 2006. All the CBGP faculty/researchers belong to Biotech Departments of the UPM/INIA and then we had several meetings with AseBio managers to analyse the best way to participate in AseBio and to introduce the new CBGP initiative.AT that time the Technical University of Madrid was also launching the Biotech Bachelor and we had a valuable opinion of AsBio about the formation program that we were preparing. Since then, CBGP and our stakeholders (UPM and INIA), considered a priority to be part of the association and with our recent incorporation to AseBio we have achieve this goal of being part of the platforms and associations leading the future development of Agriculture and Biotechnology in Spain and Europe.

AseBio. What do you expect from being part of an association like AseBio?

Antonio Molina. AseBio will provide to us the opportunity to participate in strategic discussion trhough the working groups, and to bring here ideas and initiatives to improve the R&I Biotech impact based on our experience as Academia and centre of excellence. Also, AseBio will improve CBGP impact and the contact with the different drivers of the sector. Our participation in AseBio is also an opportunity to improve the employability of the people that we are forming at different level, like Bachelor/Master and PhD students, but also postdoctoral researchers that wants to initiate their professional career in enterprises. 

AseBio. What is the biggest challenge facing the biotech sector (or your company)?

Antonio Molina. The biggest challenge to face is to produce enough food for an increasing population and to do this in a sustainable way, using less chemical and water inputs in agriculture and improving the adaptation of crops to environmental changes that they will face in the next future. To reach this goal, we will need all the technologies including Genome Editing, the development of Biosolutions (Biofertilizers, Biostimulants, Biopesticides), explore biodiversity to identify key traits for crop breeding and to use the potential of computational biology, genomics and synthetic biology. The CBGP has already started to work in these challenges by launching the Computational/Systems Biology and Genomics, and Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering R&I programs (CsBGP and SynBIO2), and by reinforcing the area of plant adaptation to environmental changes. We are optimistic since the progress of plant biology science in last years has been incredible and we have or will have the knowledge to design better solutions. For this, it would be important to increase the public financial support of R&D in Plant Biotech and Agriculture, to strength the collaboration between public-private actors and to count with the best experts in specific field through the formation of international consortia with clear missions and goals of respond to the indicated challenges.