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Ontario Genomics report on Synthetic Biology in Ontario, opportunities for UK-Canada collaboration

By Amy Tayler

Biology holds the key to all of humanity’s industrial, environmental and health challenges. What is left for us to do is pinpoint the right solutions from the genomes of millions of living organisms and put them to use in our factories, our hospitals and our homes. Accelerating, automating and industrializing this process is the discipline of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is one of a few viable ways through which we will be able to maintain our standard of living and improve our wealth and well-being without compromising the health of the planet we live on.

And that’s why Ontario Genomics wants you to Think Synthetic Biology.

Over the coming 10 years, this technological upheaval will transform the world much like the IT revolution. Many leading universities in the US and Europe like MIT, Harvard, Stanford and Imperial College London have established departments and institutes dedicated solely to synthetic biology. Together the US government and the UK government have made over $1 billion of investment to drive synthetic biology as a distinct discipline. Tech giants like Microsoft and Autodesk have initiated R&D efforts to be the first to market. It’s not too late for Ontario’s universities, government and industries to join the ranks of this forward thinking cluster.

The global economy (including many of Ontario’s driver industries) cannot continue on the same course of productivity and wealth generation. We can either invest in home-grown high-tech solutions to overcome this sustainability challenge or become a consumer of a multi-billion dollar foreign synthetic biology industry.

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Support from the UK Science & Innovation Network in Canada

UK SIN in Canada work in Synthetic Biology is giving some useful avenues for collaboration (Canada-UK). Please contact mario.rivero-huguet@fco.gov.uk if you would like to explore this further.

 


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