RBI is awarded a New Centre of Excellence
At today`s ceremony held at the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, the Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) was awarded the Scientific Centre of Excellence for Marine Bioprospecting - BioProCro. In addition to this, Minister Mornar signed today a cooperation agreements on another five scientific centres of excellence. RBI was awarded BioProCro centre of excellence together with partners from the Universities of Osijek, Rijeka, Split and Zagreb. From a total of six centres approved today, besides being a leader of one, RBI is also a partner in three other centres of excellence.
BioProCro is conceived as a virtual platform that will unify the fragmented parts of biotechnology in Croatia, enabling the use of existing equipment, accumulated knowledge, expertise and human resources that will lead to raising the level of research and application of results in the field of biotechnology.
The BioProCro Center is for the first time, gathering all Croatian research groups that investigate bioactive compounds isolated from marine organisms of the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. This project presents a collaborative effort of the Ruđer Bošković Institute, University of Rijeka (Department of Biotechnology and Centre for Highthroughput methods), University of Zagreb (Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology), University of Split (Faculty of Chemistry and Technology), and University of Osijek (Faculty of Food Technology).
All the project participants represent the cutting-edge Croatian researchers in the field of chemical and biological diversity, structural chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, model screening, bioinformatics and biotechnological application.
''All the research groups that have come together united under this centre are individually scientifically excellent, but are not big enough, nor do they have the necessary resources to implement this very extensive research and compete with some of the leading groups in the European Research Area, especially in tenders for the EU funds.'' - explains Rozelindra ČoŽ-Rakovac, Head of the BioProCro Centre.
Thus this innovative and interdisciplinary national network represent the first structured national attempt to approach the resources of Croatian marine systems in order to speed up and streamline the process of discovery and evaluation of natural products, biomaterials and bioactive substances from the Croatian marine environment.
Bioprospecting as a new concept of sustainable use of biodiversity can generate income for developing countries, and at the same time provide incentives for the conservation of biological resources and biodiversity.
''Besides the systematic search for and development of new sources of chemical compounds, genes, micro-organisms, macroorganisms, and other valuable products from nature, this concept includes exploration and research knowledge related to utilization and management of biological resources. It can lead to the development of new products, including for example new medicines.'' – concludes Marin Roje, the Center Deputy Leader.