Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the partners of the European Synthetic Cell Initiative

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the Max Planck Society (MPG) in Germany, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands are very pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further support the development of the European Synthetic Cell Initiative (SynCellEU) and its activities. The University of Oxford in the UK has also joined the partnership as an associate partner.

“Building synthetic cells represents one of the most exciting scientific challenges of our times,” said Marileen Dogterom, Professor at TU Delft and member of the SynCellEU steering committee. “By trying to replicate the cell’s molecular mechanisms, many researchers in Europe and across the world are seeking to understand how cells, and more broadly life, work. We also believe that synthetic cell research holds the key to new sustainable technologies that will contribute to a healthier and greener future.”

“But cells are so complex that the challenge cannot be achieved alone. This is why we decided to join forces and created SynCellEU. I am pleased to see how the initiative has grown and is now a key player in scaling up synthetic cell research in Europe.”

The MOU represents an important step in the development of the initiative. Through this agreement, the four main partners, TU Delft, the CEA, the CSIC, and the MPG, commit to funding the initiative’s coordinating office and its activities. The MOU also includes the possibility of associate partnerships, such as currently with the University of Oxford, with the intent to add more contributing and associate partners in the future.

The initiative’s missions include fostering collaboration among scientists in synthetic cell research and stimulating cooperation between scientists and industry in the development of new technologies.

Synthetic cell research will provide exciting fundamental insight into the workings of life. It also promises revolutionary green technologies based on mimicking the natural processes of cells. Technological applications will cover many areas such as producing sustainable chemicals, making materials that are 100% reusable or capable of self-repair, and harnessing CO2 as plants do.

“Nature is our next technology,” concluded Marileen Dogterom. “But a joint effort and investments are essential if we are to translate synthetic cell research into innovation.”