The European Commission has officially established Euro-BioImaging – which provides life scientists with open access to a broad range of technologies and resources in biological and biomedical imaging – as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC1). Imaging technologies have a central role in driving fundamental research and applied innovations in both biological and biomedical research. These technologies help a very broad user and research community to reach breakthrough biological discoveries and to proceed with translation into innovations in the fields of medicine, diagnostics, drug development, biotechnology, and molecular ecology.
With its ERIC status, Euro-BioImaging is now legally recognised as European research infrastructure2 for biological and biomedical imaging. Euro-BioImaging offers life scientists open access to imaging instruments, expertise, training opportunities and data management services that they do not find at their home institutions or among their collaboration partners. All scientists, regardless of affiliation, area of expertise or field of activity, can benefit from these pan-European open access services. Euro-BioImaging will ensure excellent research and development across the life sciences in Europe. All Euro-BioImaging services are accessible via www.eurobioimaging.eu. Establishment of the Euro-BioImaging ERIC builds on over 10 years of preparatory work with active engagement of 25 national imaging communities, funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).
Finland will host the Statutory Seat, the access gateway, and manage the overall coordination of Euro-BioImaging, while EMBL will coordinate access to biological imaging and Italy will coordinate access to biomedical imaging. EMBL will also coordinate Euro-BioImaging’s data services via the BioImage Archive to store and share imaging data.
Euro-BioImaging offers state-of-the-art imaging services through its internationally renowned facilities, called Nodes. These Nodes are distributed across its 15 founding members: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, EMBL, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. Belgium will participate as an observer.
The Italian Ministry for Research and University (MIUR) and the National Research Council (CNR) express their satisfaction for this important achievement.
CNR is strongly involved in the national Euro-BioImaging network upon collaboration with the Italian Institute for Technology (IIT), the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS), the Universities of Torino and Pisa, the San Raffaele Hospital, the IRCCS SDN, the Tuscany G. Monasterio Foundation and Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste within the three Italian Nodes. The in vivo/medical imaging section of the Hub will be managed by Italy through the Unit of the CNR Institute of BioStrcuture and Bioimages (IBB) operating at the University of Torino.
Background: the rationale for Euro-BioImaging
Innovative imaging technologies have revolutionised the life sciences by allowing researchers to visualize and measure a broad spectrum of molecular and cellular processes and events with accuracy and coverage that have been out of reach until now. For the first time in history, we can visualize the molecular processes of life and the basis of human disease, such as tumorigenesis or Alzheimer’s disease, in living cells and tissues in real time. These technologies allow breakthrough biological discoveries and their translation into medicine. Imaging technologies are thus the central technology platform driving fundamental research in most disciplines of the life sciences, in both biological and biomedical research. By facilitating user access to high quality imaging facilities, resources and services Euro-BioImaging will boost the productivity and impact of research across Europe. In recognition of this, Euro-BioImaging has received Landmark status on the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap in 2018. The current formal establishment of Euro-BioImaging culminates a decade of preparatory work that has involved active engagement of 25 national imaging communities, the international organisation EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), and EIBIR (European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research), with funding of two European Commission Preparatory Phase projects.
1: What is an ERIC?
European Research Infrastructure Consortium, or ERIC, is a specific legal form to facilitate the establishment and operation of research infrastructures with European interest. ERIC status endows research infrastructures with a legal personality recognised in all Member States of the European Union.
2: What are research infrastructures?
Research infrastructures are facilities, resources and related services used by the scientific community to conduct research and foster innovation. They include major scientific equipment, resources such as collections, archives or scientific data, e-infrastructures such as data and computing systems, and communication networks. Their development has been coordinated through the European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) since 2004. ESFRI is a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach.
Our University participates in activities of the Italian Node for biomedical imaging in close collaboration with the CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology in Pisa and the ‘G. Monasterio’ Foundation,” explains Nicola Belcari, PhD, associate professor of the Department of Physics ‘E. Fermi’ at the University of Pisa. “Our Department is at present the Department most strongly involved in the network as it has provided the Node with the nuclear imaging technologies developed by the Medical Physics Group.”
Gianluigi Consoli – Ministry of Education, University and Research
Chief officer VIII - Direzione Generale per il Coordinamento, la Promozione e la Valorizzazione della Ricerca – [email protected]
Prof. Silvio Aime – IBB CNR / Università di Torino: [email protected]
This release was first published 11 November 2019 by the University of Pisa.