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BIOTEC-03-2016: Microbial chassis platforms with optimized metabolic pathways for industrial innovations through systems biology

Specific challenge:

Systems biology deals with the understanding and controlling the complexity of living beings as opposed to studying their constituent parts. As such, systems biology can be considered as a cross-discipline, i.e. the integration of varied types of biological information and the development of models and networks, which together provide greater understanding of the biological system under study. Systems biology relies on cutting-edge technologies, including those in the fields of "omics" (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) and bioinformatics, all offering massive amounts of data, most of which remain stored and underexploited. Therefore, it is a growing area of science that builds information from the translation of biological data and strives to transfer knowledge to society in the form of valuable products and processes. On the other hand, microbes are attractive candidates to serve as cell factories for the production of many valuable compounds useful for the food, feed, fuel, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The current availability of genome sequences and metabolic models offers the adequate resources for the full exploitation of systems biology in industrial biotechnology, which can boost the design of novel and more efficient microbial platforms for the production of industrial compounds through the sound knowledge of their molecular constituents.


Proposals should use systems biology approaches integrating "omics" data analysis, mathematical modelling and knowledge of interactions between cellular components under different environmental conditions, to enable useful applications for a broader set of microorganisms, while also achieving some of the following:
- More efficient metabolic pathways of current microbial platforms, adapting them to high performing manufacturing processes
- Improving existing cell factories or developing new ones with enhanced properties for harsh process conditions in industrial applications
- Development of efficient cell factories for the industrial production of novel high-value products.
- Identification of new microbial strains with beneficial characteristics for industrial applications such as those originating from extremophiles and related activities to develop relevant industrial host organisms. Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 3 to 5. This topic addresses cross-KET activities. The participation of SMEs is encouraged. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

- Development of at least two new high added-value products
- Boosting technological innovation for European industries to keep the leadership in biotechnology in particular in the food, feed, fuel, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
- An offer of substantial opportunities for an increasing number of SME to uptake innovative research.
- Development of widely exploitable microbial hosts for the production of industrial goods. Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

Type of action:

Research and Innovation action


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