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Government’s biotech Web-based hub unveiled

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The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) is inviting the biotechnology community to register on its new online portal, as it looks collate information from different sources and integrate it into a single, uniform and secure user interface.

The Bioeconomy SA Portal is a Web-based platform that aims to be a national resource that informs both public and private players about the status of biotechnology in SA.

In addition, it aims to contribute to the national value chain by showcasing the bio-innovation ecosystem, resources, opportunities, news and events, says the DSI.

According to a DSI statement, the portal emanates from the national Bioeconomy Strategy, which was launched in 2014 to harness bio-innovation for economic growth and social development in the country.

The strategy is championed by the DSI in order to increase the contribution of sectors such as agriculture, indigenous knowledge systems, and environment and health innovation to inclusive economic growth.

The department says it envisages the portal to be a tool for facilitating strategic decisions, providing information services, and leveraging expertise and resources to create value-added services for the country's biotechnology industry.

Dr Maneshree Jugmohan-Naidu, director of agricultural biotechnology at the DSI, believes the Bioeconomy SA Portal is long overdue. “It's a necessary resource to harness bio-innovation for the growth of our economy and the well-being of our people, to make sure that the future is possible.”

The portal’s content is currently being managed on behalf of the DSI by Biosafety South Africa, a national technology platform within the Technology Innovation Agency.

Dr Hennie Groenewald, executive manager of Biosafety South Africa, says the success and value of the portal will depend on the participation of the bio-innovation community.

“It has therefore been designed intuitively to allow individuals and organisations to easily register and access only the most relevant information,” says Groenewald. “Registered members are encouraged to upload content and engage to further build the South African bioeconomy and unlock synergistic value.”

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