CORBEL Project
shared services for life-science

CORBEL News | Issue 5

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CORBEL Catalogue of Services launched
The CORBEL Catalogue of Services offers an overview on what kind of services (access to samples and technologies, data, tools, expertise etc.) can be accessed from the participating research infrastructures.
Researchers from academia, clinics and industry working on a complex project often do not have access at their home institution to the cutting-edge technologies they would need to boost their research – especially these researchers can benefit from utilising a research infrastructure. The catalogue includes state-of-the art services from the fields of advanced imaging technologies, biobanking, clinical trial, databases, functional genomics, marine model organisms, microorganisms, pathogenic microorganisms, plant phenotyping, screening and medicinal chemistry, structural biology, systems biology and translational research.
Searching the catalogue, researchers do not only obtain an overview on available services, they also receive information on access modes, costs and much more. Planning a complex research project it is also possible to use services from different research infrastructures subsequently. Examples of such service pipelines are given on the website.

On the way to new anti-cancer therapies
Alexey Koval, together with his PI Vladimir Katanaev, successfully applied to the 1st CORBEL Open Call for Advanced Research Projects. The translational research team of scientists at the University of Lausanne is looking for anti-cancer drugs specifically targeting the Wnt pathway.
"During my visit in the FMP screening facility in Berlin (EU-OPENSCREEN)", Alexey says, "I had a unique and exciting opportunity to deepen my knowledge in large-scale hit identification. Both through communication and hands-on experience, I learned details of the high-throughput screening setup, beginning from assay transfer and adaptation and finishing with the statistical methods of quality control and large dataset treatment."

Screening device at FMP

Screening at FMP

FMP Screening Unit,
Science Campus Berlin-Buch


Already the pilot screen with the bioactive compounds led to interesting results and Alexey is looking forward to the outcomes of the analysis of ~30,000 compounds available at the facility which should yield new and potentially highly therapeutically relevant chemical scaffolds to become future leads in anti-Wnt drug discovery. With the second service provider, the NMR facility (CERM/CIRMMP) at the University of Florence (Instruct), Alexey is currently in the process of elucidating the structural details of interaction of one of their drug candidates with its target protein which should be highly instrumental for future structural optimization of the compound.

After the success of the 1st CORBEL Open Call for Advanced Research Projects it is envisaged to launch a second call in 2018. Stay tuned for further announcements!

Interaction with AARC2 - Life Sciences AAI Pilot
CORBEL, represented by BBMRI-ERIC, ELIXIR, INFRAFRONTIER and Instruct-ERIC, participates in the AARC2 project. AARC2 aims to address the increasing need for federated access and for authentication and authorisation infrastructures (AAIs) by research infrastructures. CORBEL, through the work of work packages 5 and 6, provides input on the requirements for a common AAI solution for the participating 13 Biological and Medical Sciences (BMS) research infrastructures.
A call was launched for e-Infrastructures to run a pilot implementation of Life Sciences AAI solutions and multiple proposals were received. The BMS AAI working group from CORBEL evaluated the proposals and invited a consortium of EGI-EUDAT-GÉANT to implement and run the pilot solution under the auspices of AARC2. Phase 1 of the pilot is expected to be ready for testing by early February 2018.


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, EMBRC is introduced to the researcher community.


EMBRC is the pan-European distributed research infrastructure that aims to provide a strategic delivery mechanism for excellent and large-scale marine biological and ecological research in Europe.
With its services, EMBRC will support both fundamental and applied research based on marine bioresources and ecosystems. In particular, EMBRC aims to drive forward the development of blue biotechnologies. Catering for users from academia, industry, policy and the technology sectors, EMBRC provides a unique entry point to access an integrated portfolio of services, bio-technology research platforms and marine organisms, as well as analytical and historical environmental data, to investigate the potential of the marine bioresources to deliver for societally relevant research domains:

  • Human health and well-being: Marine organisms have historically proven to be fundamental models to understand human cell physiology. More recently, the untapped chemistry of marine natural products is providing the necessary novel bioactives and biomaterials to address the issues of antibiotic resistance, cancer therapy, tissue regeneration and drug delivery, among others. EMBRC is the first step of the health and well-being biodiscovery pipeline based on the sustainable use of marine bioresources.
  • Sustainability of food production: With a soaring global demand for protein, and aquaculture recently surpassing beef farming production, marine biology and ecology are key disciplines to create sustainable harvesting/rearing programmes and policies. EMBRC provides state of the art facilities to test the impact of treatments, such as nutrition and/or health measures, as well as the effects of environmental conditions, on the productivity of reared biological resources;
  • Industrial process innovation: Marine enzymes and proteins can support novel process development in the chemical industries; efficient and effective cultivation methods and technologies, as well as extraction techniques are also in high demand by the bio-refinery industry. EMBRC is key to specifically bioprospecting marine biota for white biotechnology applications.
  • Environmental adaptations to climate and pollution: In depth knowledge of marine biology and ecology is essential to preserve the natural marine environment and its services. EMBRC can provide the indoor and outdoor scalable settings to experiment the impact of different environmental conditions on biota, as well as mitigation and remediation measures.

Delegated services as well as private research are available at the EMBRC premises, satisfying both academic and industrial users. Excellence of research will be supported creating a virtuous mechanisms and a recognizable quality label, stimulating mutual development and building on reciprocal prestige. Coordinating a wide range of expertise in various research domains, EMBRC will be driven by a truly multidisciplinary community, setting the goals and achieving the objectives of the EU research and innovation agenda.

More details about EMBRC and its services can be obtained here.


Upcoming Events


Webinar “ARIA - Powering your access management from the cloud”

January 16, 2018 at 15:30 CET

Fiona Sanderson, software developer at Instruct-ERIC, will introduce ARIA, a cloud service system for the management of research infrastructures. The webinar will focus on the utility of ARIA features for facility managers and users. Participation in the webinar is free, please register here.


Meet us @



The CORBEL Staff Exchange aims to enable operational staff from the Research Infrastructures participating in CORBEL to enhance their expertise in data management, service provision, innovation and ethics by making short knowledge-exchange visits to other RIs that are noted for their excellence in this specific area.
In autumn 2017 two Staff Exchanges took place, one on “Ethical and legal framework for data sharing and reuse” and one on “User relationship management”. The format mix of lectures, interactive discussions in a small group and being on-site at a different RI was well received by the participants.
Additional Knowledge/Staff Exchanges are planned for 2018, stay tuned for upcoming announcements!

Staff Exchange @ ECRIN

Staff Exchange @ CCMAR


CORBEL consortium

On October 25-26 the CORBEL consortium met for its 2nd Annual General Meeting. Organised by CORBEL partner EATRIS-ERIC, the meeting took place in the EYE museum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). All work packages reported on their achievements and discussed future actions with the audience and the Advisory Board. Furthermore, a series of flashtalks highlighted other ongoing research activities in the life sciences and potential collaborations for CORBEL.
The next Annual General Meeting will be held October 2018 in Paris (France), organised by the CORBEL partner ECRIN-ERIC.


CORBEL partner EATRIS, main lead of the CORBEL Innovation Helpdesk, offered the CORBEL RIs to engage on their behalf in partnering meetings at the international BIO conference 2017 in San Diego. Two RIs took up the offer and in total 45 invitations were sent out resulting in interest from six companies. Of these, five attended partnering meetings at the conference and discussed potential collaborations. Follow-up actions with all six companies are currently underway.


Updates from partners

BBMRI-ERIC launched a self-assessment survey for biobanks and sample collections. Using this free quality management tool, biobanks and researchers can assess their collections’ quality status.
In mid-November BBMRI hosted the first ERIC Forum Meeting where representatives from current and future ERICs discussed common issues and shared best practices.
BBMRI and ESSB will jointly organise the upcoming Europe Biobank Week 2018 taking place September 4-7, 2018 in Antwerp (Belgium).
In autumn 2017, BBMRI contributed to the European Commission’s public consultation on health and care in the digital market. The key messages of the contribution can be found here.
Currently, BBMRI is hiring a systems administrator; deadline for application is January 10, 2018.

The next ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forum takes place January 23-24, 2018 in Cambridge (UK). The event focuses on “Enabling Discoverability in Bio-Data Innovation". Register here.

Infrafrontier launched its Transnational Access call on “Precision mammalian model development”. Deadline for the submission of proposals is December 20, 2017.

RItrain launched two surveys looking at the training needs of managers of research infrastructures. The results will be used for the purposes of the RItrain staff/knowledge exchange programme.



BBMRI-ERIC, EATRIS-ERIC, ECRIN-ERIC, ELIXIR, EMBRC, EMPHASIS, ERINHA, EU-OPENSCREEN, Euro-BioImaging, INFRAFRONTIER, Instruct-ERIC, ISBE, MIRRI (2017) A framework for quality management in the biomedical research infrastructures (BMS RIs). Zenodo

Carazo, JM (2017) CORBEL Briefing document: Evidence of shared services provided through Instruct structural biological infrastructure to other Biomedical Sciences Research Infrastructures in the CORBEL partnership. Zenodo

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.