Building an International Cooperation Network on Synthetic biology in Asia

Building an International Cooperation Network on Synthetic biology in Asia —— The ASBA Center of Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology Inauguration and Launch of SynCell Asia Initiative

The 2023 Asian Synthetic Biology Association (ASBA) Workshop: Biofoundry & Synthetic Cell was held in Shenzhen Guangming Science City from October 22nd to 24th, 2023, aiming to strengthen pragmatic exchanges and cooperation while achieving mutual benefit and joint development among Asian countries. These aims align with the governmental goals of the 3rd "Belt and Road" Forum for International Cooperation. The workshop was attended by nearly 100 national representatives and scholars from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, India and Malaysia in the fields of biofoundry, synthetic biology, and synthetic cell . In attendance were Chenli Liu (Shenzhen Advanced Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences-Vice President; Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology Institute-Founding Director), Akihiko Kondo (Kobe University, Japan), Min-Kyu Oh (Korea University, Korea), Seung Goo Lee (KRIBB, Korea), Matthew Chang (NUS, Singapore), Robert Speight (CSIRO, Australia), and Sasimanas Unajak (Science Kasetsart University, Thailand). Also in attendance were Hai Zhong (Deputy Director and Party Member; Shenzhen Science, Technology and Innovation Committee), Gaoke Yao (Standing Committee Member and Executive Deputy District Chief; Guangming District, Shenzhen City Committee), Wei Huang (Director of Social Development; Department of Shenzhen Science, Technology and Innovation Committee), and Kaixuan Qi (Program Officer; CAS-Division of Asian and African Affairs, Bureau of International Cooperation). The workshop was hosted by ASBA, co-organized by CAS-Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology and Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology.

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Attendees of the ASBA Workshop: Biofoundry and Synthetic Cell 2023

The workshop kicked off with the establishment of the Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology Innovation's ASBA Center, witnessed by the leadership of Shenzhen Science, Technology and Innovation Committee. The ASBA Center serves to deepen Shenzhen's role as an international synthetic biology hub, emphasizing Asian-driven work and contributing to the Belt and Road Initiative's high-quality development goals.

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Establishment of the ASBA Center

The SynCell Asia Initiative was also founded by participating Asian synthetic biology research institutions aiming to resolve global scientific and technological problems while exploring institutional initiatives for biofoundry construction, talent exchange, and scientific research cooperation. Professor Matthew Chang (Director of NUS-SINERGY, Wilmar-NUS Corporate Laboratory, and NUS-SynCTI) describes synthetic biology as an emerging discipline that can solve major societal challenges. He believes that the united and concerted efforts of synthetic biology experts from these countries can tackle critical problems and discover more potential areas of cooperation.

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Launching event of the SynCell Asia Initiative

This workshop strongly promotes the international cooperation on research, industry and standards in synthetic biology and biomanufacturing. It encourages the establishment of a global cooperation roadmap for synthetic cell and biofoundry standardization. Attendees engaged in academic discussions and in-depth exchanges on their national strategic and research plans. Representatives have expressed their strong enthusiasm to join the SynCell Asia Initiative, employing the Shenzhen Infrastructure for Synthetic Biology to establish standards and promote synthetic cell research jointly. These efforts would provide the Asian scientific community with a chance to lead in the global race in synthetic cell research, with Shenzhen being the centre of these research collaborations.