Maastricht has underlined its position as a burgeoning biotechnology hub, winning the European Congress on Biotechnology 2020.

The event, the longest established congress in biotechnology, attracts more than 1,000 delegates from academia and industry. Its scientific programme covers the spectrum of biotechnologies, reflecting the European Federation of Biotechnology’s (EFB) mission to promote the safe, sustainable and ethical use of biological systems for the benefit of mankind.

The win came following a competitive bid process, with Jeff Cole, Vice President, EFB, and Chair of the Congress Organising Committee, noting: “We were particularly impressed with the Local Organising Committee members from the Dutch Biotechnology Society who have committed their time and connections to ensure we have an outstanding scientific programme and the essential support of industry. The strength of Maastricht as a biotechnology hub will undoubtedly be an attraction for our delegates.”

The scientific ambassadors for the bid were Professor Aldrik Velders, Chair of the BioNanoTechnology Group at Wageningen University, which actively researches the fundamental science and technology of micro- and nanosystems and their applications in food and health; and Dr Emile van de Sandt, Director Research & Development of DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals, a global leader in sustainable antibiotics, next generation statins and anti-fungals.

The Euroregion Meuse-Rhine, located on the border triangle of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium is rapidly developing into a center for Life Sciences, with Maastricht a major player, boasting three university hospitals, five top universities and hundreds of innovative firms within a radius of 15 miles. The Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus takes a central position, offering access to world-leading imaging and analysis technologies and stimulating research into cardiovascular disease and new applications of electrical pulsing technology.

Within this, the BioPartner Center Maastricht, developed by the University of Maastricht (UM), the University Hospital Maastricht (azM), the City of Maastricht and regional investment bank LIOF, aims to accelerate the growth of young life science companies by providing them an entrepreneurial climate within a research and clinical environment. Key sectors include Biotechnology, Medical Imaging and Neuroscience, with affiliated companies given access to research institutes and clinic within Maastricht University Medical Center, a GMP facility for human cell & tissue culturing and production of (bio) pharmaceuticals, and a high-tech imaging facility. It is also home to Brains Unlimited, a European Centre of Excellence in ultra high magnetic field MRI and Neurosciences.

The 2020 conference bid was led by Jurgen Moors, Managing Director at Maastricht Convention Bureau and Jordy Rijksen, Business Development Manager, at Maastricht MECC. They add: “This underlines that everything our city has to offer, the proactive local congress community and the fact that the Maastricht Region is internally recognised as a main European hub in the field of biotechnology were main decisive criteria for the Executive Board of the European Federation of Biotechnology.”

(via Maastricht Convention Bureau, BioPartner Center Maastricht)