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EuropaBio launches the Most Innovative European Biotech SME Awards 2016

EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, is inviting small and medium sized biotech companies (SMEs) across Europe to apply for the 7th edition of the Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award – a unique annual initiative recognising biotech innovation and its contribution to society. Depending on their field of activity, SMEs can apply in 3 categories: healthcare, agricultural or industrial biotech.

Applications must be submitted online at before 27 June 2016.

Two companies will be shortlisted in each category by a jury or biotech experts, with the winners celebrated during a landmark event for SMEs held in the course of European Biotech Week in late September. Each winner will also receive a €10,000 cheque and two years free EuropaBio membership (runners-up receive the latter).


Rationale for awarding biotech SMEs in Europe

According to the European Commission, “small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy. They represent 90% of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, they have created around 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU.”  In other words, SME matter and the leaders in innovation should be recognised and rewarded.

Biotech embodies the way in which science and scientific breakthroughs can be applied to respond to current problems. From new therapies that can address unmet medical needs and fight epidemics and rare diseases, to industrial processes that use renewable feed stocks instead of crude oil, to drought-resistant crops that allow farmers around the world to feed more people under ever-harsher climatic conditions, biotechnology pays economic, social and environmental dividends.

The awards have become one of the main initiatives in the European biotech calendar, with over 150 SME competing over the years. Their success stories can be read online at


The jury

The experts who are part of the jury are involved in biotech and understand the science, the funding realities and the regulatory and political frameworks in which European biotech SMEs operate. They appreciate the potential of innovation and SMEs for Europe’s future, and they will carefully analyse each application to select the nominees.

  • Tom Saylor, Chair of the EuropaBio SME Platform and Board member of Arecor Ltd. A serial biotech entrepreneur, Tom was also a principal trade negotiator for the United States during the Tokyo Round. He holds an MBA from Harvard University, doctoral studies in molecular biology at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich and a degree in molecular biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Kay Swinburne, Welsh Member of the European Parliament with a PhD in Medical Research, King's College London, and an MBA and a career in international healthcare and finance.
  • Philippe De Backer, Belgian Secretary of State, former Member of the European Parliament with a PhD in Biotechnology, Ghent University and a career in investment in biotech.
  • Jos B. Peeters, Managing Partner at Capricorn Venture Partners with a PhD in Solid State Physics from the University of Leuven and founder of Capricorn Venture Partners in 1993;
  • Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio with a BSc in Biotechnology & Biochemistry from St Andrews University and 20 years working experience with the biotech industry and institutions.


The rewards for the applicants

Apart from the €10,000 cheque and two years free membership of EuropaBio, winners will also receive exposure and recognition through the awards ceremony. This will take place on 27 September in Brussels, during a one day event dedicated to biotech SMEs in the course of the European Biotech Week, where SME reps will engage with experts from the venture capital community, the European Medicines Agency, and the European Investment Bank on key topics including financing, IP, the Nagoya Protocol and market access.


Deadline for applications

SMEs interested in entering the competition are invited to apply by 27 June 2016 on the awards website

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Webinar on funding opportunities for Industrial Biotech & SynBio

This KTN webinar provided an update on the upcoming funding opportunities for industrial biotechnology & synthetic biology, with particular focus on the remit of each competition and where applications are likely to fit best. 

Download the slide deck >>

Watch the webinar recording >>

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