CORBEL Project
shared services for life-science


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Dear all,

CORBEL, an H2020-funded project that started 1 September 2015, had an ambitious goal: to facilitate user access across different RIs, involving multiple scientific fields and a broad range of technologies and services. By coordinating activities across RIs, CORBEL set out to build joint services for the life sciences. As the project closed 31 May, we want to thank the European Commission, the 13 Research Infrastructures and other partners involved, and all the scientists who brought such exciting research projects to our partners’ facilities. Here are some highlights from the project - and our efforts to ensure the sustainability of the achievements, so researchers can continue to benefit from the work done within CORBEL.



The core purpose of CORBEL was to drive LS RI interoperability: the project aimed to operationalise the interfaces, access protocols, data management, and ELSI support so that users could seamlessly access the rich landscape of European life science research infrastructure services. CORBEL enabled the LS RIs to support users throughout the execution of a scientific project: from planning and grant applications to the long-term sustainable management and exploitation of research data.

Download this table to view the sustainability plans for the assets produced within the project. 



Upon culmination of the CORBEL project, we would like to start a new chapter by providing you with informative and exciting video material for any upcoming outreach purposes. Within WP4 and as part of our long-term sustainability plan, Frauke Leitner and Sonja Hansen have finalized the first introductory video on European LS RIs, including some user success stories to illustrate in understandable terms how scientists can benefit from working together with us.

In the second video, we focus on RIs as such, how we operate individually and collectively across Europe, and in which areas we can offer expertise, creating powerful impact on the European research landscape.

Further videos on how LS RIs can advance COVID-19 research, and on the ELSI services for LS RIs, are coming soon.

Please make use of these videos, spread them widely across your own community, embed them into your websites, use them at the next booth you organize, tweet and retweet them, put them on LinkedIn, include them in your newsletter and so on…

We sincerely hope you will find them informative, entertaining and useful!



"For the advancement of science: Working with European Life Science Research Infrastructures" is a brochure created out of CORBEL to introduce the Life Science RIs, and it is now available.

Please click here to download the PDF (4.8 Mb).

The brochure explains how access to services and technologies offered by the RIs, the collaborative work of RIs, and in particular, the creation of common service pipelines are advancing life science research. It features RIs that are committed to continuing their joint efforts independently of CORBEL, and which have indicated that they are willing to set up bilateral collaboration agreements.



A new website dedicated to the 13 European Life Science Research Infrastructures (LS RIs), which came together during the BioMedBridges and later CORBEL projects and will continue to work together in EOSC-Life, aims to be a common source of comprehensive information, including profiles, a joint service catalogue, collaborations, news and more. The LS RI website is meant to take over, and to keep alive, some of the achievements from CORBEL. The CORBEL website on the other hand will remain as the representation of a closed project, but will no longer be updated.

The LS RI website includes a section on the ELSI Services and the Innovation Helpdesk.



Within the CORBEL Open Calls for Advanced Research Projects, more than 90 cutting-edge services and technologies were made available, including access to advanced imaging technologies, high-throughput screening, systems biology, 3D modelling, data repositories and biobanks. Among all eligible projects, 37 excellent scientific projects in need of on-site, remote or virtual access across two or more of the participating LS RIs were identified, selected and supported.

The CORBEL Open Call Users were questioned about their experience in a final survey. Download the survey results here to see how CORBEL helped to increase the visibility of research infrastructures and how well our users rated various aspects of working with RIs.



Morphology and structure of chondrocytes and their association with mineralizing tissues in shark and ray cartilage, Mason Dean (Euro-BioImaging ERIC/EMBRC ERIC)

Cartilage performs vital functions in the skeletons of vertebrate animals, forming the embryonic scaffold for patterning adult bone, contour fillers in noses and ears, and bearing surfaces in joints. Critical to cartilage function are its embedded cells (chondrocytes), which secrete and maintain their surrounding matrix as a process of growth and response to the mechanical environment.

Understanding the roles played by these cells is vital to unraveling how skeletons grow, repair and manage loads. The skeletons of sharks and rays are composed largely of a cartilage similar to ours, but unlike our skeletons, those of sharks/rays continue to grow and mineralize throughout life. As a result, Mason Dean, a group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids & Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany, and Ph.D. student Júlia Chaumel use these animals as unique systems for studying cartilage biology.

The primary goal of their CORBEL-funded project is to develop protocols for sample preparation and high-resolution imaging for cells and mineralizing tissue in shark and ray cartilage. In a 6-month longitudinal study, active mineralization zones in living animals were marked with fluorescent calcium dyes to observe skeletal growth, while novel approaches to animal collection, tissue clearing and labeling methods were also developed.

Furthermore, to visualize resultant tissue growth, extensive testing and adaptation of imaging technology was performed, with focus on both linear (e.g. fluorescence) and non-linear microscopy techniques (e.g. second harmonic generation). The project benefitted from the expert support provided by Mason's service providers in his CORBEL project, the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona (Euro-BioImaging) and the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls sur Mer (EMBRC).



CORBEL may be over, but you can still keep in touch with the Life Science Research Infrastructures!


A sincere thank you to all who contributed to the success of this project!

- The CORBEL team

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.