CORBEL Project
shared services for life-science

CORBEL News | Issue 6

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Interested followers probably remember the CORBEL Open Call for Advanced Research Projects that took place end of 2016. Since then, successful applicants have been able to access innovative technologies and services offered by different Research Infrastructures (RIs) in the CORBEL consortium.
During a workshop, recently organised by CORBEL, some of these researchers were interviewed about their experience with the Open Call. Why did they decide to apply to the Open Call? What is their research project about? And, most important, what are their experiences accessing different RIs?
The short videos are accessible from here.


RI in the spotlight

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



Chemical Biology is a new interdisciplinary research field which studies the effects of chemical compounds on biological systems. The primary objective of EU-OPENSCREEN is to offer access to a distributed Chemical Biology research infrastructure which meets the needs of scientists seeking a better understanding on how fundamental molecular processes act to govern biological function at the organismal, tissue, cellular and pathway levels by applying small chemical compounds.
Using a well-founded collaborative working model, infrastructure users and EU-OPENSCREEN teams will identify and develop novel small chemical compounds which elicit specific biological responses on organisms, cells or cellular components. These bioactive compounds are identified by means of screening large collections of >100,000 molecules, in an automated process, using robotics-based high-throughput screening platforms, and optimised by medicinal chemistry means.
The majority of scientists in Europe, however, do not have access to suitable technology platforms and compound collections, which are generally expensive to purchase, operate and maintain. As a large-scale research infrastructure (RI) with an ‘open’ pre-competitive character, EU-OPENSCREEN will cost-effectively overcome this limitation by: involving and providing access to Europe’s leading screening platforms and chemistry groups; constructing a jointly used compound collection; and operating an open-access bioactivity database which will be accessible on a global basis.
The chemical compounds which will be developed in the framework of EU-OPENSCREEN have a number of key advantages and allow interrogation of complex biological processes that cannot be properly studied with traditional genetic approaches. They drive innovation as they help validate biological targets as ‘druggable’ (i.e. be modulated by chemical compounds) which makes them highly attractive starting points for further optimisation into marketable medicines or crop-protective agents by pharmaceutical, AgriScience and biotechnology companies.
Access to the EU-OPENSCREEN, expertise and resources is available to all researchers worldwide. EU-OPENSCREEN will represent a globally relevant resource and will attract users from a variety of scientific disciplines and geographical regions. The key users can be divided into three major user groups:
  1) Assay providing users who will access the screening infrastructure
  2) Compound providing users who will donate compounds
  3) Database users who will access the EU-OPENSCREEN database


Upcoming Events


Webinar “Data Sharing and Reuse from Clinical Trials: Principles and Recommendations”

February 27, 2018 at 15:30 CET

Transparency and access to research data is a key feature of modern research policy, impacting data quality and the robustness of results, and allowing the optimal use of data generated by research projects. Christian Ohmann, Rita Banzi, Steve Canham from ECRIN-ERIC will introduce a consensus document listing clear, broadly based and pragmatic recommendations supporting the sharing and reuse of individual-participant data from clinical trials. Participation in the webinar is free, please register here.


Webinar "Single sign-on for Life Science services"

April 17, 2018 at 14:30 CET

CORBEL WP5 has specified Life Science AAI, a common service for authenticating researchers and helping the Life Science services to manage their access rights. The Life Science AAI relieves the relying services of managing the researchers’ user accounts and reduces the number of login credentials researchers need in their work. During the winter, the Life Science AAI has been deployed for a pilot in the e-infrastructure coordinated AARC2 project. The webinar will present the Life Science AAI, the pilot and the future plans. Participation in the webinar is free, please register here.


5th MIUF meeting

October 15, 2018 in Paris

The upcoming MIUF meeting will be a large stakeholder event with presentation of RI services and “success stories”. The agenda is currently under preparation.


Meet us @

  • ICRI2018 – 4th International Conference on Research Infrastructures, September 12-14, 2018 in Vienna (Austria)


1st CORBEL Open Call – interim conclusions from an observer’s perspective

Manuela Schüngel

In autumn 2016 CORBEL launched its 1st Open Call for Advanced Research projects. Since then, successful applicants have been able to access innovative technologies and services offered by different Research Infrastructures (RIs) in the CORBEL consortium.
Recently, about one year after the call closed, CORBEL organized a workshop where researchers (i.e. users) and staff from the institutes involved in the research projects (i.e. service providers) met to present recent project outcomes and discuss the lessons learned.
As CORBEL’s communication officer, I was invited to participate in the workshop. Eleven of the projects accepted in the Open Call presented the results they have generated so far by accessing the RI – and that was quite impressive! All projects are now well under way, although some started a little late - mainly due to unexpected delays in sample preparation.
The 1st CORBEL Open Call was a unique opportunity for researchers to access European biological and medical RIs in an unprecedented way. While an ambitious endeavour like the Open Call faced some early teething problems, positive experiences from all participants clearly dominated the workshop. Users appreciated the close and frequent dialogue with the CORBEL project managers and the service providers in order to plan their research visits. Service providers were very engaged in this test bed and were willing to support researchers to the best of their capabilities. Thereby, the call was not only of benefit to the researchers, but also to the service providers. Supporting the Open Call projects, they often faced challenges they do not come across in their daily routine. Solving these challenges leads in return to an improved service provision for the life science community. As projects are still ongoing, we wish all users and service providers all the best in their search for new scientific knowledge and technology development!
My personal conclusion after this two-day workshop: The Open Call was a good resource to foster innovative ideas. People working in different disciplines that would never have met outside of CORBEL came together and learned from each other. Discussions of potential future collaborations and exchange of contact details took place even after the workshop, for example while heading back to the airport. And the overwhelming feedback from all participants that they would highly recommend to apply to the upcoming CORBEL Open Call speaks for itself!

Audience at the workshop

User Dr. Maria Correia talking about her experience


Updates from partners

BBMRI-ERIC introduced new tools to facilitate findability and accessibility of biobanking resources. The BBMIR-ERIC Negotiator is one of these tools, substantially simplifying access to biobanking resources.
During the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) Conference in Brussels BBMRI-ERIC organised a panel session entitled “Code of Conduct for Health Research: A Resource in Turbulent Times”; a summary of this session is online available now.
BBMRI was also involved in developing the final draft international standard in the ISO Technical Committee 276 Working Group (“Biobanks and Bioresources”).
The Europe Biobank Week (September 4-7, 2018 in Antwerp, Belgium), co-organised by BBMRI-ERIC, will open its registration beginning of March.

Upon approval of the General Assembly of 26 January 2018, the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary with scientific representation delegated to the National Public Health Institute joined ERINHA AISBL.

New Candidate genes for diabetes found in mouse phenotyping study - Scientists at the Helmholtz Center Munich (HMGU) have identified a network of genes that could play a vital role in the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The study for which INFRAFRONTIER provided the research infrastructure marks a substantial progress in the fight against diabetes: In order to identify candidate genes for the wide spread metabolic disease, the research team of the German Mouse Clinic (GMC) examined `knockout mice´ – each lacking a specific gene – for metabolic dysfunction. Cooperating with a worldwide group of colleagues in the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), the scientists discovered a total of 974 genes whose loss had strong effects on glucose and lipid metabolism. The functions of 51 of these genes in the mouse were hitherto completely unknown. The genes were similar in their structure: Many of them had common genetic elements. Compared with genome data collected in humans, 23 genes appeared to play a role in human diabetes. Read more...
Joint Institut Pasteur and INFRAFRONTIER meeting in Paris: Modeling microbial ecosystems of mammals - On October 15 -16, 2018 the Institut Pasteur in Paris and INFRAFRONTIER will offer a joint meeting featuring the challenges and the current tools used in modelling the microbial ecosystems of mammals. The microbiota plays an important role in the development, immunity and physiology of its mammalian host. The aim of the meeting is to bring together the specialists of the field to discuss novel insights into the microbiota-host mutualism and parasitism, and focus on the new models and approaches to explore this relationship. In the near future, these advances will lead to the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies based on microbiota manipulation, and allow the microbiota to become a key diagnostic component in precision medicine. For detailed information and registration click here.

The second EMBRIC Transnational Access Call opened on the February 15, 2018. Project leaders of innovative projects in the field of marine biotechnology can apply for funded access to high-quality facilities and pioneering technology platforms from five European Research Infrastructures. Included are: laboratory fees, technical, scientific and administrative support as well as travel and subsistence costs. The call will close April 30, 2018. For more information click here.

Upcoming: Second call for application for transnational access to European plant phenotyping facilities - The European Plant Phenotyping Network 2020 (EPPN2020) provides researchers belonging to academic and industry groups with access to its 31 phenotyping facilities located all over Europe. The facilities can be used for experiments with either scientific or technological objectives. For more information click here.



SCORE-IT (Selecting Core Outcomes for Randomised Effectiveness trials In Type 2 diabetes): a systematic review of registered trials (2017) Harman, N.L., James, R. Wilding, J. Williamson, P.R. and on behalf of the SCORE-IT study team. Trials 18:597 

Sharing and reuse of individual participant data from clinical trials: principles and recommendations (2018) Ohmann, C., Banzi, R., Canham, S., Battaglia, S., Matei, M., Ariyo, C., Becnel, L., Bierer, B., Bowers, S., Clivio, L., Dias, M., Druml, C., Faure, H., Fenner M., Galvez, J., Ghersi, D., Gluud, C., Groves, T., Houston. P., Karam, G., Kalra, D., Knowles, R., Krleža-Jeri?, K., Kubiak, C., Kuchinke, W., Kush, R., Lukkarinen, A., Silverio Marques, P., Newbigging, A., O’Callaghan, J., Ravaud, P., Schlünder, I., Shanahan, D., Sitter, H., Spalding, D., Tudur-Smith, C., van Reusel, P., van Veen, E., Rienk Visser G., Wilson, J., Demotes-Mainard, J. BMJ Open 7(12) 

Classification of processes involved in sharing individual participant data from clinical trials (2018) Ohmann, C., Canham, S., Banzi, R. Kuchinke, W. Battaglia, S. F1000Research 7:138 



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.