The BIOTEK2021 programme has been established as part of the implementation of the national strategy for biotechnology. The strategy identifies biotechnology as a key element in the development of the agricultural, marine, industrial and health sectors.

The strategy also identifies four cross-cutting focus areas:

• biotechnology and society;
• international cooperation;
• industrial development;
• competencies and infrastructure.

The strategy provides a framework for research initiatives in the interface between social challenges, national competitive advantages and opportunities inherent in biotechnology activities. The complexity and dynamics of interaction between research, technology and society are increasing rapidly, giving rise to a need for greater knowledge and reflection about the changes we are facing.

Continues the efforts of the Programme on Functional Genomics in Norway (FUGE)

The Research Council has invested considerable resources in biotechnology research since 2001. The Programme on Functional Genomics in Norway (FUGE) has been the Council’s widest-ranging strategic initiative, with an overall budget of NOK 1.6 billion. The FUGE programme was concluded in 2011, and its activities will be followed up and expanded under the new BIOTEK2021 programme.

The national-task sharing established under the FUGE programme will be further developed through continued focus on national collaboration, distribution of research tasks and specifically-targeted activities.

What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology is defined as the application of science and technology to living organisms as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services.
Biotechnology is not an industry in itself, but rather an enabling technology that holds great potential for enhancing industrial development, innovation and competitiveness. There are many areas of application within the agricultural, aquaculture, health and industrial sectors.