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» WP4: Infrastructures »  Analysis Platforms


A variety of analysis platforms could be useful for low dose risk research, in particular those related to various “omics” technologies.  A key challenge is identifying and accessing these research platforms.  The most advanced European effort to identify and catalogue qualifying European platforms is the MERIL project.  Once complete, MERIL will make this information publicly available through an interactive portal.  The portal is scheduled to be active by the beginning of 2013.

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The following information is provided by the MERIL website.

Research excellence requires excellent research infrastructures which not only support research but also lead its development into new directions and create an attractive environment for world-class researchers. Research Infrastructures which promote research, education and innovation are integral. They are the engine that drives the development of research skills and knowledge to support EU competitiveness.

In the report ‘EUROHORCs and ESF Vision on a Globally Competitive ERA and their Road Map for Actions’ (2009), the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs) highlight the need to develop shared funding and exploitation of research infrastructures. In January 2010, the ESF launched a Member Organisation Forum to address this issue among its members and other key players in Europe. The importance of Research Infrastructures as a corner stone of the European Research Area has once more been endorsed in the ‘Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union’ communication of the European Commission (2010). The European scientific community and policy makers would therefore benefit from a comprehensive inventory of the research infrastructures in Europe.


What is MERIL?

The MERIL project (Mapping of the European Research Infrastructure Landscape) aims to achieve this comprehensive inventory of research infrastructures of European relevance and make the information publicly available through an interactive online portal.

What is meant by research infrastructures?

Considering existing definitions from the European Commission and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), MERIL established the following definition of Research Infrastructures: a European Research Infrastructure is a facility or (virtual) platform that provides the scientific community with resources and services to conduct top-level research in their respective fields. These research infrastructures can be single-sited or distributed or an e-infrastructure, and can be part of a national or international network of facilities, or of interconnected scientific instrument networks.

The infrastructure should:

  • offer top quality scientific and technological performance, that should be recognised as being of European relevance
  • offer access to scientific users from Europe and beyond through a transparent selection process on the basis of excellence
  • have stable and effective management


The following information is provided by the Euro-BioImaging website.

Euro‐BioImaging is a large‐scale pan‐European research infrastructure project on the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap.

Euro‐BioImaging will deploy a distributed biological and biomedical imaging infrastructure in Europe in a coordinated and harmonized manner.

By providing access to and training in imaging technologies, and by sharing of best practice and image data, Euro‐BioImaging will become an engine that will drive European innovation in imaging research and technologies.

The Euro-BioImaging consortium comprises

  • 39 legal partner organizations (Beneficiaries) from 15 European Member States and associated countries represented in the Euro-BioImaging Steering Committee
  • more than 200 Associated Partners from 26 European Member States and associated countries.
  • over 250 expressions of interest from universities, research councils, funding bodies, ministries, and industry partners.

Euro-BioImaging is in the Preparatory Phase (2010-2013), that will be followed by a Construction Phase (2013-2017) to finally reach the Operation Phase (2017 onwards).


The following information is provided by the Infrafrontier website.

Our Vision:
To build a world-class research infrastructure that provides the biomedical research community with the tools needed to unravel the role of gene function in human disease.

Mouse models have become a central tool for the study of the functional basis of human diseases. Infrafrontier Project will lead to the establishment of a sustainable research infrastructure for systemic phenotyping, archiving and distribution of mouse models.
Read more about Systemic Phenotyping, Archiving and Distribution of mouse models for human diseases ...

Towards the Infrafrontier Research Infrastructure: The increasing demand of the biomedical researchers for systemic phenotyping, archiving and distribution of mouse models cannot be accommodated with the capacities currently existing in Europe. Infrafrontier Project is funded by the European Commission to set the stage for the implementation of an infrastructure that addresses these needs.
Read more about the Infrafrontier Preparatory Phase and the implementation of the Infrafrontier Research Infrastructure ...

Infrafrontier Project brings together partners from twelve European countries and Canada. Our scientific partners are the leading research facilities in the field of systemic phenotyping, archiving and distribution of mouse models. Our administrative partners represent national research ministries and funding agencies.
Read more about the Infrafrontier Consortium ...

The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) was established to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on reseach infrastructures in Europe. The ESFRI Roadmap identifies new research infrastructure of pan-European interest corresponding to the long-term needs of the European research communities. Infrafrontier Project is part of the ESFRI Roadmap since it was first published in 2006.
Read more about the ESFRI Roadmap for research infrastructures and about national roadmaps that prioritise Infrafrontier...


The following information is provided by the ISBE website.

ESFRI - Infrastructure for Systems Biology Europe - (ISBE)
ISBE (Infrastructure for Systems Biology – Europe) is a large-scale European research infrastructure project on the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap.
The need for a European infrastructure for systems biology has been clearly established for a number of years. A working group was established in April 2009, under the leadership of Professor Richard Kitney, Imperial College, to develop an outline proposal for the ISBE. This has now been included in the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) Roadmap 2010. ISBE is now in the preparatory phase 2012 to 2015. The preparatory phase will include extensive consultation with stakeholders in order to ensure broad European research participation to tackle the grand challenge of developing a systematic understanding of complex biological processes in living organisms. A list of the current work packages and their objectives can be found here.

Summary of ISBE Proposal
The ISBE will (i) interconnect hubs of technological excellence in Systems Biology, offering the best European research expertise, and experimental and modelling facilities, necessary for systems biology, (ii) establish and make available repositories of data and models, and (iii) enable real-time connections within and between components of (i) and (ii) and with external ‘user’ laboratories, through the provision of high performance connections to existing high capacity electronic network infrastructures. Hubs will contribute specific skills and expertise to functional clusters focused on a variety of topics in an operational matrix, and some hubs may have groups that participate in different and/or multiple clusters. This structure will also facilitate efficient interaction with the substantial technology development efforts relevant to Systems Biology already funded by national and EU programmes. The ISBE will enable all European laboratories to model, conduct experiments and undertake other activities remotely, where they cannot be done locally, but which are required for their systems biology research programmes. This is an essential point because Systems Biology requires significantly more multidisciplinary facilities than are typically present in any single institute, industrial enterprise or even some member states.
Contact: b.skene@imperial.ac.uk




The following information is provided by the ELIXER website.

The purpose of ELIXIR is to construct and operate a sustainable infrastructure for biological information in Europe to support life science research and its translation to medicine and the environment, the bio-industries and society.
Because of new technologies such as next-generation DNA sequencing, data produced in biological experiments is doubling every few months, and this rate is increasing. In addition, new types of data are constantly emerging that need to be integrated meaningfully.
The collection, curation, storage, archiving, integration and deployment of biomolecular data is an immense challenge that cannot be handled by a single organisation or by one country alone, but requires international coordination.

European Strategy Forum on Research and Innovation (ESFRI)
In October 2006 ESFRI, a body set up by 33 countries at the initiative of the European Council, identified 35 pan-European research infrastructures that are of key importance for the development of science and innovation. Among them, ELIXIR is one of very few considered to be of global significance.

ELIXIR will provide the facilities necessary for Europe’s life science researchers to make the most of our rapidly growing store of information about living systems, which is the foundation on which our understanding of life is built.

In order to achieve its mission, ELIXIR will construct, operate and enhance a distributed research infrastructure in accordance with the requirements of the scientific community and under the direction of the ELIXIR Board. The ELIXIR Hub will be connected to ELIXIR Nodes to provide infrastructure for data, compute, tools and standards and training as well as support for the ESFRI biological and medical science infrastructures.

ELIXIR co-ordinates the BioMedBridges project, which is a key initiative to bring together the ESFRI Research Infrastructures in the Bio Medical Sciences field.

ELIXIR Preparatory Phase
The website of the ELIXIR Preparatory Phase is available here. This website provides information on the EU-funded preparatory phase, including the documents and reports prepared by partners in the early stages of ELIXIR.