The European Commission has officially established Euro-BioImaging – which provides life scientists withopen access to a broad range of technologies and resources in biological and biomedical imaging – asa European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC1
). Imaging technologies have a central role in driving fundamental research and applied innovations in both biological and biomedical research. These technologies help a very broad user and research community to reach breakthrough biological discoveries and to proceed with translation into innovations in the fields of medicine, diagnostics, drug development, biotechnology, and molecular ecology.
“Imaging technologies are at center stage of research infrastructures in life sciences, as they can be used to unravel a vast range of cellular and physiological processes with unprecedented precision and breadth. Due to these capabilities, these technologies are in very high demand and we foresee that Euro-Bioimaging will provide a major advancement in terms of access, services, know-how, and training related to these techniques and instruments. This is a big step for European life sciences”, says John Eriksson, who has been heading the interim operation of the Euro-Bioimaging Seat.
With its ERIC status, Euro-BioImaging is now legally recognised as a European research infrastructure2
for biological and biomedical imaging. Euro-BioImaging offers life scientists open access to imaging instruments, expertise, training opportunities and data management services that they do not find at their home institutions or among their collaboration partners. All scientists, regardless of affiliation, area of expertise or field of activity, can benefit from these pan-European open access services. Euro-BioImaging will ensure excellent research and development across the life sciences in Europe. All Euro-BioImaging services are accessible viawww.eurobioimaging.eu
Finland willhost the Statutory Seat, the access gateway, and manage the overall coordination ofEuro-BioImaging, while EMBL will coordinate access to biological imaging and Italy will coordinate access to biomedical imaging. EMBL will also coordinate Euro-BioImaging’s data services via the BioImage Archive
to store and share imaging data.
“In Turku we develop and host the online web portal through which Euro-BioImaging services are accessed and operated. This is the heart of the infrastructure, and gives Finland unique opportunities to influence how modern research services are accessed online and linked to other services and biomedical databases. Researchers of tomorrow will have incredible possibilities not available today, and we are at the very frontline of that development”, says Pasi Kankaanpää, who is a Project Manager at Euro-BioImaging.
Euro-BioImaging offers state-of-the-art imaging services through its internationally renowned facilities, called Nodes. These Nodes are distributed across its 15 founding members: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, EMBL, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. Belgium will participate as an observer.
“Euro-Bioimaging will provide excellent opportunities for Finnish scientists to obtain world class imaging services and also to network and collaborate with the best imaging centers and experts in Europe”, says John Eriksson.
Finland in the lead of European imaging
Biological and biomedical imaging comprise technologies that are used to observe the invisible living world, both events and structures in molecules and cells as well as processes and disease events in animals and humans. Finland is at the European forefront when it comes to these technologies, which has also been recognized in the Finnish science and research strategy as defined by the national research infrastructure roadmap. Concurrently, Finland holds internationally recognized expertise in biological and biomedical imaging and the field is a highly prioritized area for several Finnish universities.
In line with the above, Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture and The Academy of Finland, have supported the preparatory phase and the piloting interim operation of Euro-BioImaging since 2014. Now, Finland will host the Euro-BioImaging headquarters and its functions, such as the Director General office and main administration, along with the hosting of the Euro-BioImaging Web Portal (www.eurobioimaging.eu). This enables Euro-Bioimaging to provide user mobility and access to truly advanced and unique infrastructure services. Furthermore, the organization will provide coordination of services, project funding, training, and data management and analysis. Euro-Bioimaging will also provide an active link between Finnish national experts and leading European authorities and imaging centers, thereby creating exceptional technology synergies within the European bioimaging communities. In this way, Euro-Bioimaging will also accelerate rapid development of novel and advanced biomedical imaging technologies.
In addition to the headquarters, Finland hosts one of the service-providing Euro-BioImaging Nodes, which is a collaboration between the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, University of Oulu and University of Helsinki. This Node offers open access to advanced light microscopy techniques and related services to all Euro-BioImaging users, and is one of the most popular Nodes in Euro-BioImaging.