CORBEL Project
shared services for life-science

CORBEL News | Issue 4

View this email in your browser  


Successful Midterm Review

On June 22 the CORBEL consortium successfully mastered its Midterm Review in Brussels. The evaluators stated that the project has delivered exceptional results facing the challenges of creating a framework for an integrated access to experimental and analytical facilities across Europe.
The CORBEL consortium will continue to work on challenges like harmonised access, interoperability of data, ELSI framework, supporting innovation as well as on developing training programs in order to deliver integrated life science services to all researchers.


Greetings from the Sea – a CORBEL Open Call user reports about her first visit

Prof. Simona Candiani from the University of Genoa is one of our successful applicants, who were selected with her project in the 1st CORBEL Open Call. Her scientific interest addresses certain genes that might play an important role in evolutionary neural development. For her research, she uses amphioxus as a model system. Simona’s first visit in the framework of her CORBEL access brought her to the marine station at Banyuls-sur-mer, which is the only Mediterranean infrastructure that offers the possibility to collect amphioxus adult. She received training to perform in vitro fertilization of the collected animals to prepare embryo cultures, which will be needed for RNA extraction and whole mount in situ hybridization. “My stay in Banyuls was really useful as I had the opportunity to gain experience with amphioxus egg microinjection – a very challenging technique, as I was warned by several of my colleagues ahead of my trip! Nevertheless, I obtained a few microinjected animals and now I am looking forward to the next steps in my CORBEL project!” Simona’s visit was facilitated a lot by the administrative support from CORBEL project managers and the technical assistance by local scientific staff.

S. Candiani performing amphioxus
egg microinjection

model system amphioxus

research vessel Nereis


As second service provider in her project pipeline, Simona requested access to the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility (ALMF) at EMBL Heidelberg. Here, she will receive not only access to the most advanced imaging technologies, but also technical support in developing a suitable imaging protocol. The goal is to reveal the 3D localization of several neural markers in amphioxus, which will eventually help to better characterize the function of the genes of interest in neural differentiation of amphioxus.


CORBEL webinar series started

The CORBEL webinar series was successfully launched with webinars on networking with industry and user experience design. The series aims to address challenges and share best practice from biological and medical RIs. It is addressed to technical operators of RIs and is aligned with the CORBEL competency framework. All webinars are recorded and available for posterior viewing. The webinar series will continue after a short summer break.



During its last meeting, the CORBEL Executive Board decided to approve the applications from ERINHA and EMPHASIS to join CORBEL as new project partners. With these two research infrastructures (RIs), covering the fields of highly pathogenic agents as well as plant phenotyping, CORBEL now unites all 13 European biological and medical sciences RIs listed on the ESFRI roadmap 2016.


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, ECRIN-ERIC is introduced to the researcher community.


Since its creation in 2004, ECRIN-ERIC has been striving to overcome the challenges to multinational trials in Europe.
ECRIN focuses on multinational academic research as well as trials initiated by biotech and medical device small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It provides support to sponsors in investigator-initiated trials and helps them navigate Europe’s fragmented health and legal systems. Multi-country trials mean greater access to patients, resources, and expertise, and, in turn, faster and potentially more robust results. ECRIN’s organisational model is based on country membership. Each country has a European Correspondent, who manages the trial portfolio and coordinates with the national scientific hub (i.e., network of clinical trial units, CTUs) with support from the Paris-based Core Team. ECRIN provides support for the preparation of multinational clinical trials (e.g. trial logistics, funding applications), the validation of study protocols (scientific and logistical review), and trial management (coordination, submissions to competent authorities and ethics committees, monitoring, adverse event reporting, data management). In support of these activities, it develops and maintains freely accessible tools such as databases on regulatory and ethical requirements, outcome measures, and risk-based monitoring. ECRIN currently provides consultancy and management services to more than 40 trials, with an average of seven countries per trial. In addition, ECRIN contributes to capacity building projects aiming to establish shared services in biomedical areas and to foster international cooperation in non-commercial trials.

More details about ECRIN-ERIC and its services can be obtained here.


Upcoming Events

4th Medical Infrastructure Users Forum (MIUF)

October 24, 2017 in Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

The CORBEL 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.



The CORBEL webinar series will continue after a short summer break – stay tuned for updates!


Meet us @

  • Technology Transfer Conference “Establishing and Maintaining an Innovation Framework”, organised by ESS-ERIC,
    October 11, 2017 in Lyngby (Denmark): A. Ussi (EATRIS) represents CORBEL


How European Biological and Medical Sciences Research Infrastructures boost Innovation by Open Access

On the 20th June, the national node and EATRIS organized a meeting in Brussels within the framework of CORBEL to discuss how RIs can be utilised to support innovation.
Speakers from a wide range of fields from the Biological and Medical Science Research Infrastructures (BMS RI), the European Commission, industry and other European organizations were invited. The speakers explored the topic of Open Innovation with particular emphasis on pre-competitive research cooperation models. The various BMS RI gave lectures and talked about how they are working to achieve the goal of Open Innovation. The meeting ended with a lively panel discussion between representatives of EMA, EFPIA and industry. All presentations are online available.
Conclusions are that pre-competitive open access models are very valuable as an instrument for innovation, if issues such as intellectual property rights (IPR) are adequately addressed in the planning process.

A. di Giulio
(EC, DG Research)

M. Carr
(European Medicines Agency)

P. Sanseau (GlaxoSmithKline)

S. Tille (Leica Microsystems)


Updates from partners

The BBMRI-ERIC Assembly of Members recently appointed Erik Steinfelder as the new Director General of BBMRI-ERIC. He begins this position on August 1, 2017, succeeding Professor Jan-Eric Litton, who has been BBMRI-ERIC’s first Director General since 22nd January 2014.

The Clinical Research Initiative for Global Health (CRIGH), for which ECRIN-ERIC hosts the secretariat (together with the National Institutes of Health), featured a correspondence article in Nature. In addition, the project launched its website.
PedCRIN, the Paediatric Clinical Research Infrastructure Network, has also launched its website. Asian partners have expressed interest in ECRIN’s data centre certification programme. A call will be developed in upcoming months for the certification of various centres.

In cooperation with the Research Center for Natural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Chemical Society, EU-OPENSCREEN organised the 5th European Chemical Biology Symposium. During a special session the audience learned about the expertise of the different EU-OPENSCREEN partner sites.

INFRAFRONTIER launched its transnational access call for “Derivation of germ-free mice (axenic service)”: A service to derive germ-free (axenic) mice is provided by three infrastructures with a long standing expertise and track record in the derivation of axenic and gnotobiotic mice. These participating INFRAFRONTIER infrastructures are among very few dedicated facilities in Europe who have the required equipment and expertise to generate germ-free and gnotobiotic mice. The participating axenic- and gnotobiology platforms support research into host-microbiota interactions to study the role of the microbiome in both health and disease. The deadline for submission of a proposal is August 31, 2017.

After the European Commission had adopted the Instruct-ERIC decision beginning of July, the official launch of Instruct-ERIC took place July 18, 2017. Currently, Instruct-ERIC has a call for access, i.e. researchers can apply for access to structural biology infrastructure. More details about the application process can be found here.

During the 4th MIRRI International Stakeholder Meeting in Brussels countries supporting the MIRRI-ERIC decided on the establishment of an Interim Secretariat. It will support the prospective MIRRI Member States on their way to obtain the legal status for the research infrastructure and to decide on the country hosting the statutory seat.

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.