Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI


Towards a European Strategy for Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology (SB) is an emerging field promising high potential for research and development (R&D), and future applications beneficial for economy and society. The EU has started first measures to develop the field. However, research activities are scattered across European regions and across scientific disciplines and are concentrated in a relatively small number of working groups.
The Specific Support Action TESSY aims to fill this gap by setting up an expert based, investigative and participative process for the further development of SB in Europe. The core elements of TESSY will be a series of workshops which will be informed by fact finding explorations (e. g. surveys, expert interviews).
The process will develop and implement

  • a common understanding and awareness of SB, its potentials and achievements, taking into account the results of previous analyses,

  • a European strategy for the further development of SB with clear goals, milestones and suitable measures to accomplish it (roadmap)

  • stimulation activities for the mobilisation of public and private resources.

The work is undertaken in five workpackages (WPs).

WP1 builds the interface to existing initiatives to make best use of the already existing knowledge base.

WP2 is the roadmapping process. It includes two workshops, a fact-finding task and a phase of including feed-back on the draft roadmap from the broad SB community, including researchers, policy-makers, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

WP3 aims at the dissemination of the roadmap and includes a large workshop to discuss and share the results with the broad community.

In WP4, steps are developed particularly to assist the Member States’ agencies to develop and implement their own SB strategy.

WP5 comprises the project management.

Overall, TESSY will contribute to strengthening the European competitiveness in this field and to increasing the future social and economic benefits of SB.

Additional information is available on


Ongoing 1/2007  - 12/2008


  • European Union within 

  • EU-NEST-Activities

  • PATHFINDER initiative

  • "Synthetic Biology" 2005/2006 


  • Astrid Lunkes, European Science Foundation( Strasbourg, France)

  • Hubert Bernauer, ATG Biosynthetics GmbH (Merzhausen, Germany)

  • Kristian Mueller, University of Freiburg, Department of Biology (Freiburg, Germany)