CORBEL Project
shared services for life-science

CORBEL News | Issue 1

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Welcome to the first issue of the CORBEL News!

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The CORBEL project

CORBEL – Coordinated Research Infrastructures Building Enduring Life-science services – unites the 11 Biological and Medical Science Research Infrastructures (RIs) in an EC Horizon2020 project.  

CORBEL is built on the results from the BioMedBridges project that resulted in a solid foundation for data-sharing and interoperability of data between the research infrastructures. In CORBEL we expand our cooperation beyond data to a streamlined access, harmonised ELSI and collaborative innovation practice to participating RIs. Research infrastructures are user-driven and this project takes a user-led approach: For the biological community, the 1st Open Call for Research Projects (see below) will be launched in October 2016. 

In CORBEL, these studies in which researchers working on complex interdisciplinary projects will be supported to ensure seamless access to multiple RIs. The first proof-of-concept studies are currently under way in the medical as well as in the biological area. This includes on-site access to state-of-the-art technologies as well as virtual support e.g. for ethical or legal issues.  

For more information about CORBEL please visit the project website.



1st Open Call for Research Projects

CORBEL seeks to harmonise  access to European Research Infrastructures (RIs) joining their various expertise across the range of life-science disciplines. This facilitated access is of particular relevance for advanced interdisciplinary research projects, which could highly benefit from the integration of several specialist services and technologies such as biobanking, curated databases, systems biology, mouse mutant phenotyping, marine model organisms, advanced imaging technologies, high-throughput screening, structural biology.
Through defined pipelines, the services of more than 16 CORBEL partner institutes from 8 participating RIs will be made accessible to interested users. The intention is to provide access to multiple RI services and benefit from user feedback in order to improve, where transitions between RIs are not as smooth as desirable.

The CORBEL partners launch an Open Call and thereby offer this unique chance to all life science researchers in Europe. Successful applicants will have the unique opportunity to access multiple RIs with just one application. Available services are grouped into four different Access Tracks:
   1. Genotype-to-Phenotype analysis
   2. Pharmacology for safer drugs/ chemical products
   3. Structure-function analysis of large protein complexes
   4. Marine Metazoan Developmental Models

Project proposal submission for the 1st CORBEL Open Call opens in October 2016.
For more information please visit the project website.


CORBEL Innovation Office

The CORBEL Innovation Office aims to increase the utilization of research data and resources through enhanced public-private collaboration and reduced length of matching and negotiation processes. It is intended to provide free of charge advice and assistance CORBEL RIs to streamline research collaboration among Europe’s Biological and Medical Research Infrastructures (RIs) and the industry.
Basically, the Innovation Office is set up to support RIs participating in CORBEL, but it is also open to requests from industrial clients aiming to establish a public-private collaboration.

At the CORBEL Innovation Office, a team of experienced business developers and legal experts are available to answer questions and give advice on data sharing, partnering and deal making, with a special focus on public-private partnerships.
In addition, the Help Desk shares best practices from the RIs and makes available via its webpage guidelines and templates for agreements for frequently occurring situations within public-private collaborations. The service will soon evolve to include novel collaboration models such as Open Innovation and Expert Centres for sharing data and resources in the pre-competitive phase.

More information on the CORBEL Innovation Office can be obtained from the CORBEL website.
Feel free to get in touch with the Innovation Office (innovation [at]!




RI in the spotlight

This section will focus on one of the eleven research infrastructures participating in CORBEL, providing useful information for current and future users. In this issue, ELIXIR is introduced to the researcher community.



Life sciences experiments and research produce large amounts of data. Some of these vast datasets are highly specialised and are only available to researchers within the country in which they were generated. The aim of ELIXIR is to orchestrate the collection, quality control and archiving of these large amounts of valuable data and provide open access to researchers in any part of the world with the objective to facilitate discoveries that benefit humankind.
ELIXIR unites leading life-science organisations throughout it’s 20 member countries in managing and safeguarding the massive amounts of data being generated in publicly funded research. It coordinates, integrates and sustains bioinformatics resources across its Member States and enables users in academia and industry to access vital data, tools, standards, compute and training services for their research.
The application areas supported by ELIXIR are broad and cover disciplines including among others: marine metagenomics, plant sciences, biodiversity, human data, rare diseases, systems biology, and cheminformatics.

ELIXIR Nodes (the different institutions that represent the Member States) run hundreds of existing services that are open for use by researchers. These services can be categorised into the following:
   - Databases (deposition archives and value-added knowledge bases)
   - Tools
   - Standards and interoperability of standards
   - Training courses
   - Compute resources
   - Data management support
   - Cooperation with industry and technology transfer

ELIXIR is able to solve the data deluge in life science research because it is creating a single infrastructure that integrates research data from all corners of Europe and ensures a seamless and open service provision (being that service the access to data and tools and further resources for its analysis) that is easily accessible to all.
Precisely, ELIXIR is offering the life science community access to:
   - Databases and added-value databases,
   - Secure data deposition,
   - Tools for data analysis and data management,
   - Standards definition and strategies to get interoperability of standards,
   - Training courses on specific tools and relevant resources,
   - Compute resources information to request it use,
   - Data management support and consultancy, and
   - Opportunities to cooperate with industry and technology transfer.

More details about ELIXIR’s services can be obtained here.


Upcoming Events

2nd Consensus Meeting on Patient-level Data Sharing

October 6-7, 2016 in Milan (Italy)

Transparency and access to research data is a key feature for research policies, impacting on data quality and robustness of results and leading to an optimal use of all generated data. Although practices in terms of open data access may vary across disciplines, the topic of data accountability and transparency applies to nearly any type of research activity. The CORBEL patient-level data taskforce unites experts from different fields, working closely together to produce a harmonised policy for transparency in clinical trials, i.e. the transparency of patient-level data.


2nd MIUF Meeting

October 12, 2016 in Paris (France)

The “Medical Infrastructure/Users Forum (MIUF)” combines the European research infrastructures with scientific expertise in different medical research areas, bringing together medical research communities corresponding to European priorities, including pan-European users communities as well as patients associations. The MIUF will be a key instrument for efficient development and use of biomedical research infrastructures in Europe, by promoting a culture of collaboration across the ESFRI BMS infrastructures and capturing needs and expectations of scientific communities and funders, to drive the development of tools and services and to promote a consistent development strategy, avoiding gaps and overlaps.


Training course “Data Visualisation for Biology”

January 30 – February 3, 2017 in Hinxton (UK)

In collaboration with CORBEL the EMBL-EBI offers the training course "Data Visualisation for Biology: a practical workshop on design, techniques and tools". This 5-day workshop takes place January 30 - February 3, 2017 in Hinxton, UK.
Note that there is an application deadline: November 11, 2016!


Meet us @

  • ICRI 2016, October 3-5, 2016 in Cape Town (South Africa): exhibition (booth #25)

Updates from partners

In summer 2016, Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany joined ELIXIR, expanding ELIXIR’s membership to 19 countries across Europe. The ELIXIR node in Luxembourg will be coordinated by the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), which is part of the University of Luxembourg. It has particular expertise in clinical and translational medicine research informatics and strong industry collaboration. Ireland`s national node is currently under development and will bring together several leading centres and institutes. The ELIXIR Node in Germany will be run by de.NBI, the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure, which has been established to coordinate bioinformatics service provision across Germany.

This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654248.

This publication reflects the view only of the author(s), and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.