Science - November 24, 2011

Genomics institute wins a million euros for mobile DNA labs

The Wageningen Centre for Biosystems Genomics (CBSG) has received the annual Valorisation Award of one million euros from the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI) for its mobile DNA labs.

CBSG is a public-private partnership formed by seven knowledge institutes and 15 companies involved in genetics know-how and potato and tomato breeding. The centre, located in Wageningen, started the mobile DNA labs eight years ago with the former VWO-campus. Wageningen students brought DNA experiments to secondary schools to get pupils acquainted with genomics. Five years ago, this successful concept was also adopted by four other genomics centres belonging to the NGI. By the end of this year, a hundred thousand school pupils would have got to know the mobile DNA lab.
The international jury which awarded the Valorisation Award termed this a role model of 'societal valorisation' or using knowledge for the society. The prize of a million euros was handed over on 22 November. 'We will use this money to set up new DNA labs together with our current partners,' says CBSG director Robert Hall. 'Although the Netherlands Genomics Initiative will end next year, we will continue with the DNA labs. For example, we now want to set up a mobile sequencing lab to enable pupils to learn where DNA pieces come from.'
CBSG gets research funds up to the end of next year. After that, it will come under one of the top sectors, Horticulture and Propagation Materials.

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