Around 750 participants gathered at the German Biotechnology Days (DBT) in Wiesbaden on March 28 and 29 for their annual exchange, as many as before the pandemic. At the annual "class reunion" of the industry, the focus was not only on discussing current topics in the industry, but also on exchanges with each other and with politicians. In his video greeting, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck emphasized that biotechnology was close to his heart. Biotechnology brings together the economy, climate protection and innovation and is a game-changer technology, said the Federal Minister. In the plenary session, Tarek Al-Wazir, Hesse's Minister of Economics, intensively discussed issues related to the bioeconomy, biomass and material cycles with industry experts. His State Secretary Philipp Nimmermann opened the conference with the statement "The potential of biotechnology is huge."
The program of the two-day event highlighted the numerous application areas in which biotechnology, a key technology, is used. The focus this year was on the bio-based, sustainable economy, the bioeconomy, and the circular economy. However, medical biotechnology, digitalization and the shortage of skilled workers were also topics. The numerous experts agreed that Germany is well placed to assume a leading international position, as defined as a goal in the German government's strategy for the future. Nevertheless, politicians must now set the course so that this can actually be achieved. In his keynote speech, Jochen Maas, Head of Research at Sanofi Germany, warned that something had to change; Germany was falling behind in international competition. Stefanie Heiden, Professor of Innovation Research and Bioeconomy Advisor to the German government, also urged that the financing of the industry must be ensured in the long term, also by private investors. Social entrepreneur Manouchehr Shamsrizi provided further impetus. As far as biotechnology is concerned, we in Germany are "secretly clever," said Shamsrizi. He suggested using the right narratives to raise awareness of biotechnology. He addressed the magic that can be associated with the industry and the technology, which requires special communication. Our sustainability goals could only be achieved with biotechnology, he said.
Oliver Schacht, President of BIO Deutschland, said, "From our point of view, the German Biotechnology Days were a complete success. Despite the difficult conditions caused by the strike, a great many participants came to Wiesbaden to finally exchange ideas without masks and distance. The discussions among each other and with politicians were very good, the program varied and the evening celebration in Biebrich Castle, hosted by our regional hosts, was great. The event represents the diversity and potential of German biotechnology. We must now do everything we can to ensure that biotechnology can also grow and work in the best possible way in Germany."
The German Biotechnology Days are hosted by BIO Deutschland together with the Council of theBioRegions and changing regional hosts. Our special thanks go to this year’s host Hessen Trade and Invest and Technologieland Hessen and the partner region InfectoGnostics Forschungscampus Jena and Thüringer ClusterManagement.
The next German Biotechnology Days (DBT) will be held in Berlin on April 16 and 17, 2024.