Palacký University strengthening in the European Federation of Biotechnology

Director of CRH Ivo Frébort.
Photo: Ota Blahoušek
Thursday 20 August 2020, 9:00 – Text: Martina Šaradínová

Palacký University in Olomouc will significantly strengthen its position in the European Biotechnology Federation (EFB). Ivo Frébort, Director of the Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research (CRH), was elected Vice President of the non-profit organization associating national biotechnology societies, scientific societies and institutes, universities, biotechnology companies and individuals. At the same time, he will lead the newly established Plants, Agriculture and Food Division. Michaela Holecová also from CRH became a member of the EFB Executive Board.

"I very much appreciate being elected a Vice President of EFB, it has come as the result of our research center's long-term cooperation with this organization. I am really pleased to be able to contribute to the fulfillment of the main goal of EFB, which is to promote and support the development of biotechnology in Europe," said Frébort. CRH, led by him, which brings together scientific teams from the Faculty of Science of Palacký University and Olomouc branches of the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Crop Research Institute , has been a member of EFB since 2011. It also works closely with the Asian Biotechnology Federation.

As a member of the Executive Board, Professor Frébort also participated in the recent change in the organizational structure of the EFB, the aim of which is more efficient management and better coordination of activities. The existing sections have been replaced by seven divisions. One of the new divisions is Plants, Agriculture and Food, whose establishment was significantly supported by the Olomouc representation. As the division leader, Professor Frébort plans to organize conferences, summer schools and popularization events in this area. "Under the auspices of the division, we will continue to organize the international conference Plant Biotechnology: Green for Good, which takes place every two years in Olomouc. Other events will be organized mainly by partners from Germany and Switzerland. I also consider it very important that the major biotechnology companies Syngenta and Novozymes will participate in the activities of this division," adds the biochemist, who is also a supporter of the regulation of existing European legislation on GMOs.

Professor Frébort, along with other vice presidents, will work closely with the new EFB President. Jeff A. Cole, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham, who is also a member of CRH Scientific Board, will start his presidency in January 2021. He will replace Swedish microbiologist Mathias Uhlén, who has led the non-profit organization since 2015. EFB has 80 members from institutions across Europe and over 25,000 expert members. It promotes the safe, sustainable and beneficial use of basic research and innovation in the biological sciences, while providing space for interdisciplinary and international cooperation.