The European BioValley
A cluster is a structure made up of universities, research labs, science parks, incubators, hospitals, start-ups, large companies, and government agencies. They all come together with the aim of generating innovation and strengthening the area’s competitiveness and economic growth. Historically, the countries dominating Europe’s life science sector are UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark, and Belgium, so it is not surprising that most of the major clusters are also located in these countries.
Outside of the two big regions in the USA of California and Boston, the European BioValley is considered the best cluster for biotechnology in the world.
It’s the first and the largest life science oriented cluster in Europe.
It was established in 1996 with the aim of replicating in European biotech what California’s Silicon Valley did for the IT sector.
"Biovalley" is a combination of three clusters from three different countries; BioValley Basel of Switzerland, BioValley Baden-Wurttemberg of Germany, and France’s BioValley Alsace.
Life science companies have operations in BioValley
This cluster is home to a total of over 600 organizations, which consist of about 350 biopharmaceuticals and about 250 medical device/MedTech companies.
It also houses 14 technology parks such as Biopark Basel, BioTechPark Freiburg, and Technopole Mulhouse.
All organizations in BioValley collectively offer employment to over 500,000 professionals.
Besides providing employment, this cluster is also a major center for academic activities.
It has 10 academic research institutes and two European Reference Points for Medical Research (European Pharmacopoeia and European Science Foundation).
About 10,000 scientific researchers and 100,000 students are involved in education and innovation within this cluster.
Several major European and non-European life science companies have operations in BioValley.
Some global biopharma companies present here include, Johnson & Johnson, Alcon, Novartis, Pfizer, and Roche.
This cluster is also home to major medical device or MedTech organizations such as Stryker, Agilent Technologies, and GE Healthcare.
R&D, the Europe 2020 strategy
Over the span of five years, the number of active researchers directly employed in R&D activities across Europe rose from 1.8 million to 2.71 million.
The Europe 2020 strategy sets targets in relation to R&D expenditure and has called for at least 3% of the EU gross domestic product (GDP) to be spent in this direction.
To put that into perspective, GDP levels three years ago reached 2.03% or EUR 283.9 billion in the EU and 2.73% in the United States.
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