The opening ceremony for the four-day "Basel Life" congress was held on 10 September 2017 with a lecture in Basel's internationally renowned Art Museum by Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize winner and head of the Francis Crick Institute in London. This new congress format unites the strong points of the Basel life science cluster and promotes the discourse between fundamental research, hospitals and industry.
At the premiere in the Congress Center Basel (CCB), science, technology and business were skilfully combined with each other. Each of the areas was represented by its own individual event with a global reach. The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) thus teamed up with a group of leading European scientists, with Professor Susan Gasser in the chair, to draw up the programme for "EMBO at Basel Life". The congress was devoted to the topic "Genomes in Biology and Medicine" and delighted participants with eminent speakers including Svante Pääbo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Jennifer Doudna from Berkeley University in Washington.
Knowledge transfer at the highest level
In the "Innovation Forums", leading scientists presented their inventions, methods and technologies for applied topics. The already-established industry exhibition MipTec has been successfully operating in the life sciences market for twenty years and, this year, it brought together more than100 international exhibitors who presented the latest products from their research and development work.
The owner of the MipTec to date, Congrex Switzerland – an internationally operating agency delivering integrated solutions especially for non-profit clients – contributed the trademark rights and the know-how acquired over the years, and, this year too, lived up to its reputation as a reliable overall organizer of "Basel Life".
On all four days of the congress, "Basel Life" fulfilled its aim of offering knowledge transfer at the highest international level. That is also borne out by the line-up of top speakers who included Silvia Arber, this year's winner of the Louis Jeantet Prize, and Caetano Reis e Sousa who was awarded second prize. With its central location in Europe and its defining life sciences cluster with a globally operating pharmaceutical industry conducting the corresponding research, the city of Basel proved to be an ideal venue.
"Basel Life" is staged by the European Association for Life Science (EALS) which was founded in 2015 with the aim of developing life science in Europe. The Board of Directors of the European Association for Life Science can be seen as a "Who's Who" of the life science community: Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Rector of the University of Basel, chairs the Governance Board. Alongside her, as Vice-President, is Susan M. Gasser, Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel as well as Matthias Leuenberger, Novartis, Dieter Scholer, member of the University Council, Christoph Eymann, Member of the National Council and Jürg Erismann, Roche.