As a continuation of the study visit of the Serbian delegation to London, in January this year, UK & EMBL experts visited Belgrade on April 26 and met with the Director of C4IR Serbia, Jelena Bojović. We started the day with an interactive workshop, where we gathered representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, relevant domestic institutes and faculties, and the British Embassy in Belgrade.
The morning workshop was opened by Dr. Mark Bale, an Independent consultant in genomics, policy and bioethics, who presented to participants the biotech ecosystem of the UK and the most successful Genomics England projects, such as the 100,000 Genomes Project. Deputy Director General of the European Laboratory for Molecular Biology (EMBL) Dr. Ewan Birney then presented the results of their laboratories so far and plans for further development. The workshop was wraped up by Alasdair Thong, founder of SelvedgeVenture, who presented a successful biotechnology ecosystem from a startup and business perspective, and Dr. Nikola Novčić from Quell Therapeutics with recommendations in the field of technology transfer from academia to business.
In the second part of the day, an important meeting was held between EMBL representatives, Dr. Ewan Birney and Head of International Relations Plamena Markova, and Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation Dr. Jelena Begović. The main topic of the meeting was the potential establishment of Serbia’s cooperation with EMBL and the presentation of the BIO4 campus project by Minister Begović. The meeting was also attended by the UK Ambassador to Belgrade, Sian MacLeod.
We completed the study visit with a visit from the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering (IMGGE). Our guests were welcomed by the Director of the Institute Dr Ivana Strahinić and her deputy Dr Goran Jovanović, and then they had the opportunity to hear more about the project of sequencing 1,000 Balkan genomes and the work of the bioinformatics group within the Center for Genome Sequencing and Bioinformatics. The visit ended with a short walk and tour of the area where the construction of the BIO4 campus is planned.
As a result, we started a great discussion with our UK & EMBL colleagues and established cooperation which will continue with future collaborations.
The study visit of UK & EMBL experts was organized by NALED, with the support of the British Embassy in Belgrade.