Skip to main content

EMBRC preparatory phase

Final Report Summary - EMBRC (EMBRC preparatory phase)

Executive Summary:
Seas and oceans control the Earth’s climate and provide a rich and largely unexplored reservoir of biodiversity with great potential to contribute to food and energy security, human health and industrial production. Acquiring sufficient understanding of marine ecosystems to allow the sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources will require a step change in scientific endeavour. In order to secure Europe`s global competitiveness in marine biology and address Europe`s grand challenges related to energy, food, job security, human health, climate change and on-going environmental degradation, it is now necessary to mobilise and link the currently fragmented infrastructure and human resources in Europe. To help meet these challenges, the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) was established to provide a strategic delivery mechanism for the provision of large scale and high quality marine science in Europe. EMBRC will become the major provider of marine biological research infrastructure and related services in Europe and provide a single access point to a comprehensive range of European marine coastal ecosystems and biological resources.
EMBRC was included by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in the Biological and Medical Sciences (BMS) Thematic Work Group in the ESFRI-BMS Roadmap 2008. It fulfilled the rising demand for access to model marine organisms and related genomics resources and due to the need to integrate existing marine biological research institutes into a large-scale pan-European distributed infrastructure. The preparatory-phase of EMBRC (ppEMBRC, commenced on the 1st February 2011 and ended on the 31st January 2014 (duration 3 years). EMBRC will be implemented in two subsequent phases: the construction phase (2014-2016) and operation phase (2016-).
The future EMBRC will be a distributed Research Infrastructure (RI), providing: access to European coastal marine biota and their ecosystems; marine instrumentation, marine model organisms; state-of-the-art research services including biobanks and platforms for genomics, structural and functional biology, animal-borne sensors, microscopy and bioinformatics. There will also be training in marine biological sciences and genomics; outreach to stakeholders, users and the public at large; support for knowledge transfer and Europe-wide promotion of products and services.

EMBRC was included by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in the Biological and Medical Sciences (BMS) Thematic Work Group in the ESFRI-BMS Roadmap 2008. It fulfilled the rising demand for access to model marine organisms and related genomics resources and due to the need to integrate existing marine biological research institutes into a large-scale pan-European distributed infrastructure. The preparatory-phase of EMBRC (ppEMBRC, commenced on the 1st February 2011 and ended on the 31st January 2014 (duration 3 years). EMBRC will be implemented in two subsequent phases: the construction phase (2014-2016) and operation phase (2016-).
The future EMBRC will be a distributed Research Infrastructure (RI), providing: access to European coastal marine biota and their ecosystems; marine instrumentation, marine model organisms; state-of-the-art research services including biobanks and platforms for genomics, structural and functional biology, animal-borne sensors, microscopy and bioinformatics. There will also be training in marine biological sciences and genomics; outreach to stakeholders, users and the public at large; support for knowledge transfer and Europe-wide promotion of products and services.

EMBRC was included by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in the Biological and Medical Sciences (BMS) Thematic Work Group in the ESFRI-BMS Roadmap 2008, due to an increasing demand for access to model marine organisms and related genomics resources and due to the need to integrate existing marine biological research institutes into a large-scale pan-European distributed infrastructure. The Preparatory-Phase of EMBRC (ppEMBRC, commenced on the 1st February 2011 and ended on the 31st January 2014 (duration 3 years). EMBRC will be implemented in two subsequent phases: the construction phase (2013-2018) and operation phase (2015-).
The ppEMBRC partners include: Italy (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn; coordinator); France (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie which jointly operate the Station Biologique de Roscoff, the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls-sur-mer and the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-mer); Germany (Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research); Greece (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research); Norway (Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology); Portugal (Centre for Marine Sciences); Sweden (Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences) and the United Kingdom (Scottish Association for Marine Science, The Scottish Oceans Institute and the Marine Biological Association of the UK), and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (in Heidelberg and in Cambridge).
The future EMBRC will be a distributed Research Infrastructure (RI), providing: access to European coastal marine biota and their ecosystems; marine instrumentation, marine model organisms; state-of-the-art research services including biobanks and platforms for genomics, structural and functional biology, microscopy and bioinformatics. There will also be training in marine biological sciences and genomics; outreach to stakeholders, users and the public at large; support for knowledge transfer and Europe-wide promotion of products and services.

Project Context and Objectives:
The European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) is a distributed Research Infrastructure (RI) that will provide access to a comprehensive range of marine ecosystems and organisms of the coastal seas of Europe and become the major European provider of marine biological research infrastructure and related services. It will provide access to both the expertise and specialist facilities required for the sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources. EMBRC will have a leading role in the development of new model organisms for the whole of the biological and biomedical research communities in both private and public sectors. Access to the RI will be provided at full economic cost and based on scientific merit and feasibility for academic users. Commercial rates will be charged for private sector users and access offered based on feasibility alone. EMBRC will adopt a subsidiarity model, involving a central European-level hub which directs the EMBRC infrastructure and services provided by national nodes through service-level agreements. In the current preparatory phase, EMBRC comprises nine Founding Partners and seven Associate Partners.
European marine stations need European-scale organisation

Life in the oceans is ancient, over 3.5 billion years old, and is therefore unique in its extraordinary breadth of biological and chemical diversity. Marine organisms have evolved specialised adaptations to survive in the manifold of complex marine ecosystems and environmental conditions found in the sea, resulting in an immense diversity of biomaterials and bioactive compounds. These products are potentially significant for biological, biomedical and biotechnological research and its applications. However, approximately 80% of all marine life in today`s oceans remains unexplored.
Technological development is pushing back the frontiers of science and influences our science policy landscape. Today´s tools for exploring marine environments range from ‘omics to satellite observation. Advances in high throughput sequencing technologies including metagenomics are now allowing large-scale studies of marine ecosystems, providing an unprecedented, direct access to marine genes and gene products. These new approaches will also revolutionise the monitoring of marine ecosystems, many of which are under immediate threat of regional and global anthropogenic impacts. Biology is in the midst of a revolution driven by the development of new model species, new technologies and improvement of computational methods to analyse high volumes of data, promoting step-change advances in our understanding of biological systems. Novel sensors and satellite technology are providing new insights into the movement, behaviour and interactions of top predators in the oceans. These recent advances will enable Europe to move much faster from discovery to application, provided that we mobilise the fragmented human and infrastructure resources currently available in a concerted and long-term effort. The potential benefits of pooling resources in EMBRC through greater scale and efficiency are immense.
Marine and coastal areas support an enormous breadth of economic activities ranging from renewable energy generation, oil and gas extraction, aquaculture and fisheries to shipping, tourism and leisure pursuits, and are a major source of growth and employment. Marine species are key components in the sustainable development of this economy, an important food and feed resource as well as a rich source of biofuels and novel compounds for medicine and industry. Notably, the EU economy linked to blue biotechnologies provides jobs to 5.4 million citizens and generates a gross added value of just under €500 billion per year. The market for marine biotechnology products is forecast to reach a total of US$4.1 billion by 2015. This is expected to then grow by approximately 10% yearly. Accessing marine biodiversity requires specialised research infrastructure, which is provided by coastal marine research stations and laboratories that are partners of EMBRC. These partners provide access to a broad range of biological resources, including wild organisms as well as a number of emerging model species that are cultivated ex situ, together with sophisticated imaging and ‘omics platforms for their analysis. The next 10-20 years will see a dramatic increase in the demand for access to relatively unexplored species in order to test their suitability for development as models for basic and applied research and industrial usage. EMBRC will be leading the provision of the services and platforms needed for the sustainable collection, investigation and establishment of these new models.
Traditionally, European marine stations and laboratories have operated independently, which is associated with inefficient utilisation of the existing infrastructure and uncoordinated planning of large-scale facilities at the European level. The current arrangement of marine research stations operating entirely independently also hinders research aimed at making connections between processes across regional seas and/or at different latitudes, a factor that is particularly important in the field of assessing climate change impacts. No single marine centre or member state can provide all of the state-of-the-art facilities needed to grasp the burgeoning opportunities in marine biological research. This awareness motivated the FP6 Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3) project ASSEMBLE, a network of eight leading coastal marine biological research centres providing collective transnational access to a set of marine ecosystems and marine model organisms, including an increasing number of experimental systems amenable to state-of-the-art genomics approaches. ASSEMBLE began to connect a loose network of marine stations and laboratories in Europe and has provided a good starting point for the fully integrated Research Infrastructure for marine biology in Europe that EMBRC will become.

The added value of EMBRC at the European scale:

1.) Strengthening the network and increasing the number of partners will significantly improve the infrastructure and services to fit user needs.
2.) Long-term partnerships will enable advanced integration of marine biological research infrastructure in Europe as well as sophisticated joint development activities at the European scale.
3.) High leverage to support EU´s growth strategy until 2020 and beyond in all five ambitious objectives including employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy.

Increasing the number of partners will result in a broader coverage of European marine ecosystems and biological resources (aiming at encompassing all European regional seas and associated breadth of marine biodiversity) and integration of high-level marine research platforms. This enhanced coverage of European coastal ecosystems and research infrastructure brought about by EMBRC will accelerate both the speed of discovery in life sciences and their applications, in this way promoting the bio-based blue economy. EMBRC will thus also facilitate areas of European environmental policy, including e.g. the refinement of marine ecosystem monitoring (cf. “genomics observatories” for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive).
EMBRC will enable long-term, sustainable partnerships, which are a prerequisite for efficient technological development. EMBRC will promote strategic planning of new marine research platforms in Europe and carry out joint development activities for the advancement of marine biological resources and associated genomics. In particular EMBRC will support important developments in system administration and data integration to connect to more global e-infrastructures in life- and environmental sciences. With the objective of becoming a top-level, world-class infrastructure, EMBRC national members will be responsible for advancing Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for the benefit of the whole EMBRC community.
EMBRC will have much higher leverage than ASSEMBLE by providing support to both regional and national European governments. As the only truly marine Research Infrastructure in biological and medical sciences as well as the only marine science RI in biology, EMBRC will rapidly become the focal point for implementing the strategic research and innovation agendas and marine environmental policies on regional (e.g. the smart specialisation strategy), national (e.g. the JPI Oceans) and European scale (Horizon 2020, cohesion policy). EMBRC also provides the essential link between biomedical and environmental sciences and the biotechnology sector (Figure 1). EMBRC-ERIC will be a legal body representative of national forces and interests in the area of marine sciences. EMBRC will rapidly gain representation, influence and leadership at the EU level, a development that will serve the attractiveness of Europe in a global perspective. Another critical issue is the regulation of access to marine biodiversity, a topic where EMBRC will play an important role together with other actors such as EC DG MARE and EC DG ENV as well as those involved in addressing the Nagoya protocol.
Overall, EMBRC will be a powerful platform to define and meet the strategic needs of marine biology and ecology at regional, national and European scales. It will be instrumental in pooling national marine stations and laboratories, human capital and financial resources into a coherent framework, providing the necessary hardware for joint programming in these areas.
ppEMBRC has had the main objective to plan the integration of existing marine biological research institutes into a large-scale pan-European infrastructure. This plan includes the strategic, technical, logistical, legal and financial work needed for the implementation phase of EMBRC.

Main objectives of ppEMBRC for its 3 years of execution were:
• To define the scope of the future EMBRC, by accessing what infrastructures are required to meet current and future user needs and to prioritize areas for investment.
• To define the structure of the future EMBRC by determining which elements of partner infrastructures will be integrated into EMBRC and how this will be governed.
• To determine the internal and external scientific landscape and provide a validated plan for the inclusion/exclusion of facilities, location and dimension.
• To identify and interact with potential new members, other complementing RIs and future end-users.
• To develop a business plan defining how consensus decisions on scope and structure of EMBRC can technically be translated into concrete actions in the construction phase.
• To identify sustainable funding for the construction and operative phases of EMBRC.
• To develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and/or to establish a legal status for the Construction and Operative phases of EMBRC.

European marine stations need European-scale organisation

Life in the oceans is ancient, over 3.5 billion years old, and is therefore unique in its extraordinary breadth of biological and chemical diversity. Marine organisms have evolved specialised adaptations to survive in the manifold of complex marine ecosystems and environmental conditions found in the sea, resulting in an immense diversity of biomaterials and bioactive compounds. These products are potentially significant for biological, biomedical and biotechnological research and its applications. However, approximately 80% of all marine life in today`s oceans remains unexplored.
Technological development is pushing back the frontiers of science and influences our science policy landscape. Today´s tools for exploring marine environments range from ‘omics to satellite observation. Advances in high throughput sequencing technologies including metagenomics are now allowing large-scale studies of marine ecosystems, providing an unprecedented, direct access to marine genes and gene products. These new approaches will also revolutionise the monitoring of marine ecosystems, many of which are under immediate threat of regional and global anthropogenic impacts. Biology is in the midst of a revolution driven by the development of new model species, new technologies and improvement of computational methods to analyse high volumes of data, promoting step-change advances in our understanding of biological systems. Novel sensors and satellite technology are providing new insights into the movement, behaviour and interactions of top predators in the oceans. These recent advances will enable Europe to move much faster from discovery to application, provided that we mobilise the fragmented human and infrastructure resources currently available in a concerted and long-term effort. The potential benefits of pooling resources in EMBRC through greater scale and efficiency are immense.
Marine and coastal areas support an enormous breadth of economic activities ranging from renewable energy generation, oil and gas extraction, aquaculture and fisheries to shipping, tourism and leisure pursuits, and are a major source of growth and employment. Marine species are key components in the sustainable development of this economy, an important food and feed resource as well as a rich source of biofuels and novel compounds for medicine and industry. Notably, the EU economy linked to blue biotechnologies provides jobs to 5.4 million citizens and generates a gross added value of just under €500 billion per year. The market for marine biotechnology products is forecast to reach a total of US$4.1 billion by 2015. This is expected to then grow by approximately 10% yearly. Accessing marine biodiversity requires specialised research infrastructure, which is provided by coastal marine research stations and laboratories that are partners of EMBRC. These partners provide access to a broad range of biological resources, including wild organisms as well as a number of emerging model species that are cultivated ex situ, together with sophisticated imaging and ‘omics platforms for their analysis. The next 10-20 years will see a dramatic increase in the demand for access to relatively unexplored species in order to test their suitability for development as models for basic and applied research and industrial usage. EMBRC will be leading the provision of the services and platforms needed for the sustainable collection, investigation and establishment of these new models.
Traditionally, European marine stations and laboratories have operated independently, which is associated with inefficient utilisation of the existing infrastructure and uncoordinated planning of large-scale facilities at the European level. The current arrangement of marine research stations operating entirely independently also hinders research aimed at making connections between processes across regional seas and/or at different latitudes, a factor that is particularly important in the field of assessing climate change impacts. No single marine centre or member state can provide all of the state-of-the-art facilities needed to grasp the burgeoning opportunities in marine biological research. This awareness motivated the FP6 Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3) project ASSEMBLE, a network of eight leading coastal marine biological research centres providing collective transnational access to a set of marine ecosystems and marine model organisms, including an increasing number of experimental systems amenable to state-of-the-art genomics approaches. ASSEMBLE began to connect a loose network of marine stations and laboratories in Europe and has provided a good starting point for the fully integrated Research Infrastructure for marine biology in Europe that EMBRC will become.

The added value of EMBRC at the European scale:

1.) Strengthening the network and increasing the number of partners will significantly improve the infrastructure and services to fit user needs.
2.) Long-term partnerships will enable advanced integration of marine biological research infrastructure in Europe as well as sophisticated joint development activities at the European scale.
3.) High leverage to support EU´s growth strategy until 2020 and beyond in all five ambitious objectives including employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy.

Increasing the number of partners will result in a broader coverage of European marine ecosystems and biological resources (aiming at encompassing all European regional seas and associated breadth of marine biodiversity) and integration of high-level marine research platforms. This enhanced coverage of European coastal ecosystems and research infrastructure brought about by EMBRC will accelerate both the speed of discovery in life sciences and their applications, in this way promoting the bio-based blue economy. EMBRC will thus also facilitate areas of European environmental policy, including e.g. the refinement of marine ecosystem monitoring (cf. “genomics observatories” for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive).
EMBRC will enable long-term, sustainable partnerships, which are a prerequisite for efficient technological development. EMBRC will promote strategic planning of new marine research platforms in Europe and carry out joint development activities for the advancement of marine biological resources and associated genomics. In particular EMBRC will support important developments in system administration and data integration to connect to more global e-infrastructures in life- and environmental sciences. With the objective of becoming a top-level, world-class infrastructure, EMBRC national members will be responsible for advancing Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for the benefit of the whole EMBRC community.
EMBRC will have much higher leverage than ASSEMBLE by providing support to both regional and national European governments. As the only truly marine Research Infrastructure in biological and medical sciences as well as the only marine science RI in biology, EMBRC will rapidly become the focal point for implementing the strategic research and innovation agendas and marine environmental policies on regional (e.g. the smart specialisation strategy), national (e.g. the JPI Oceans) and European scale (Horizon 2020, cohesion policy). EMBRC also provides the essential link between biomedical and environmental sciences and the biotechnology sector (Figure 1). EMBRC-ERIC will be a legal body representative of national forces and interests in the area of marine sciences. EMBRC will rapidly gain representation, influence and leadership at the EU level, a development that will serve the attractiveness of Europe in a global perspective. Another critical issue is the regulation of access to marine biodiversity, a topic where EMBRC will play an important role together with other actors such as EC DG MARE and EC DG ENV as well as those involved in addressing the Nagoya protocol.
Overall, EMBRC will be a powerful platform to define and meet the strategic needs of marine biology and ecology at regional, national and European scales. It will be instrumental in pooling national marine stations and laboratories, human capital and financial resources into a coherent framework, providing the necessary hardware for joint programming in these areas.
ppEMBRC has had the main objective to plan the integration of existing marine biological research institutes into a large-scale pan-European infrastructure. This plan includes the strategic, technical, logistical, legal and financial work needed for the implementation phase of EMBRC.

Main objectives of ppEMBRC for its 3 years of execution were:
• To define the scope of the future EMBRC, by accessing what infrastructures are required to meet current and future user needs and to prioritize areas for investment.
• To define the structure of the future EMBRC by determining which elements of partner infrastructures will be integrated into EMBRC and how this will be governed.
• To determine the internal and external scientific landscape and provide a validated plan for the inclusion/exclusion of facilities, location and dimension.
• To identify and interact with potential new members, other complementing RIs and future end-users.
• To develop a business plan defining how consensus decisions on scope and structure of EMBRC can technically be translated into concrete actions in the construction phase.
• To identify sustainable funding for the construction and operative phases of EMBRC.
• To develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and/or to establish a legal status for the Construction and Operative phases of EMBRC.


European marine stations need European-scale organisation
Life in the oceans is ancient, over 3.5 billion years old, and is therefore unique in its extraordinary breadth of biological and chemical diversity. Marine organisms have evolved unique adaptations to survive in the manifold of complex marine ecosystems and environmental conditions, resulting in an immense diversity of biomaterials and bioactive compounds. These products are potentially significant for biological, biomedical and biotechnological research and its applications. However, approximately 80% of all marine life in today`s oceans remains unexplored.
Technological development is pushing back the frontiers of science and influences our science policy landscape. Today´s tools for exploring all parts of marine environments range from ‘omics to satellite observation. Advances in high throughput sequencing technologies including metagenomics are now allowing large-scale studies of marine ecosystems, providing an unprecedented, direct access to marine genes and gene products. These new approaches will also revolutionise the monitoring of marine ecosystems, many of which are under immediate threat of regional and global anthropogenic impacts. Biology is in the midst of a revolution driven by the development of new model species, new technologies and improvement of computational methods to analyse high volumes of data, promoting step-change advances in our understanding of biological systems. These recent advances will enable us to move much faster from discovery to application, provided that we mobilise the fragmented human and infrastructure resources currently available in Europe in a concerted and long-term effort. The potential benefits of pooling resources in Research Infrastructures including EMBRC are immense.
Marine and coastal areas support an enormous breadth of economic activities ranging from renewable energy generation, oil and gas extraction, aquaculture and fisheries to shipping, tourism and leisure pursuits, and are a major source of growth and employment. Marine species are key components in the sustainable development of this economy, an important food and feed resource as well as a rich source of biofuels and novel compounds for medicine and industry. Notably, the EU economy linked to blue biotechnologies provides jobs to 5.4 million citizens and generates a gross added value of just under €500 billion per year. The market for marine biotechnology products is forecast to reach a total of US$4.1 billion by 2015. This is expected to then grow by approximately 10% yearly. Accessing marine biodiversity requires specialised research infrastructure, which is provided by coastal marine research stations and laboratories that are partners of EMBRC. These partners provide access to a broad range of biological resources, including wild organisms as well as a number of emerging model species that are cultivated ex situ, together with sophisticated imaging and ‘omics platforms for their analysis. The next 10-20 years will see a dramatic increase in the demand for access to relatively unexplored species in order to test their suitability for development as models for basic and applied research and industrial usage. EMBRC will be leading the provision of the services and platforms needed for the sustainable collection, investigation and establishment of these new models.
Traditionally, European marine stations and laboratories have operated independently, which is associated with inefficient utilisation of the existing infrastructure and uncoordinated planning of large-scale facilities at the European level. The current arrangement of marine research stations operating entirely independently also hinders research aimed at making connections between processes across regional seas and/or at different latitudes, a factor that is particularly important in the field of assessing climate change impacts. No single marine centre or member state can provide all of the state-of-the-art facilities needed to grasp the burgeoning opportunities in marine biological research. This awareness motivated the FP6 Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3) project ASSEMBLE, a network of eight leading coastal marine biological research centres providing collective transnational access to a set of marine ecosystems and marine model organisms, including an increasing number of experimental systems amenable to state-of-the-art genomics approaches. ASSEMBLE began to connect a loose network of marine stations and laboratories in Europe and has provided a good starting point for the fully integrated Research Infrastructure for marine biology in Europe that EMBRC will become.

The added value of EMBRC at the European scale:

1.) Strengthening the network and increasing the number of partners will significantly improve the infrastructure and services to fit user needs.
2.) Long-term partnerships will enable advanced integration of marine biological research infrastructure in Europe as well as sophisticated joint development activities at the European scale.
3.) High leverage to support EU´s growth strategy until 2020 and beyond in all five ambitious objectives including employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy.

Increasing the number of partners will result in a broader coverage of European marine ecosystems and biological resources (aiming at encompassing all European regional seas and associated breadth of marine biodiversity) and integration of high-level marine research platforms. This enhanced coverage of European coastal ecosystems and research infrastructure brought about by EMBRC will accelerate both the speed of discovery in life sciences and their applications, in this way promoting the bio-based blue economy. EMBRC will thus also facilitate areas of European environmental policy, including e.g. the refinement of marine ecosystem monitoring (cf. “genomics observatories” for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive).
EMBRC will enable long-term, sustainable partnerships, which are a prerequisite for efficient technological development. EMBRC will promote strategic planning of new marine research platforms in Europe and carry out joint development activities for the advancement of marine biological resources and associated genomics. In particular EMBRC will support important developments in system administration and data integration to connect to more global e-infrastructures in life- and environmental sciences. With the objective of becoming a top-level, world-class infrastructure, EMBRC national members will be responsible for advancing Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for the benefit of the whole EMBRC community.
EMBRC will have much higher leverage than ASSEMBLE by providing support to both regional and national European governments. As the only truly marine Research Infrastructure in biological and medical sciences as well as the only marine science RI in biology, EMBRC will rapidly become the focal point for implementing the strategic research and innovation agendas and marine environmental policies on regional (e.g. the smart specialisation strategy), national (e.g. the JPI Oceans) and European scale (Horizon 2020, cohesion policy). EMBRC also provides the essential link between biomedical and environmental sciences and the biotechnology sector (Figure 1). EMBRC-ERIC will be a legal body representative of national forces and interests in the area of marine sciences. EMBRC will rapidly gain representation, influence and leadership at the EU level, a development that will serve the attractiveness of Europe in a global perspective. Another critical issue is the regulation of access to marine biodiversity, a topic where EMBRC will play an important role together with other actors such as EC DG MARE and EC DG ENV as well as those involved in addressing the Nagoya protocol.
Overall, EMBRC will be a powerful platform to define and meet the strategic needs of marine biology and ecology at regional, national and European scales. It will be instrumental in pooling national marine stations and laboratories, human capital and financial resources into a coherent framework, providing the necessary hardware for joint programming in these areas.
The partners in ppEMBRC include: Italy (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn; coordinator); France (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie which jointly operate the Station Biologique de Roscoff, the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls-sur-mer and the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-mer); Germany (Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research); Greece (Hellenic Centre for Marine Research); Norway (Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology); Portugal (Centre for Marine Sciences); Sweden (Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences) and the United Kingdom (Scottish Association for Marine Science, The Scottish Oceans Institute and the Marine Biological Association of the UK), and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (in Heidelberg and in Cambridge).
The future EMBRC will be a distributed Research Infrastructure (RI), providing: access to European coastal marine biota and their ecosystems; marine instrumentation, marine model organisms; state-of-the-art research services including biobanks and platforms for genomics, structural and functional biology, microscopy and bioinformatics. There will also be training in marine biological sciences and genomics; outreach to stakeholders, users and the public at large; support for knowledge transfer and Europe-wide promotion of products and services.
ppEMBRC has had the main objective to plan the integration of existing marine biological research institutes into a large-scale pan-European infrastructure. This plan includes the strategic, technical, logistical, legal and financial work needed for the implementation phase of EMBRC.

Main objectives of ppEMBRC for its 3 years of execution are:
• To define the scope of the future EMBRC, by accessing what infrastructures are required to meet current and future user needs and to prioritize areas for investment.
• To define the structure of the future EMBRC by determining which elements of partner infrastructures will be integrated into EMBRC and how this will be governed.
• To determine the internal and external scientific landscape and provide a validated plan for the inclusion/exclusion of facilities, location and dimension.
• To identify and interact with potential new members, other complementing RIs and future end-users.
• To develop a business plan defining how consensus decisions on scope and structure of EMBRC can technically be translated into concrete actions in the construction phase.
• To identify sustainable funding for the construction and operative phases of EMBRC.
• To develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and/or to establish a legal status for the Construction and Operative phases of EMBRC.

Project Results:
ppEMBRC objectives were implemented through eleven Work Packages (WPs), each with specific sets of tasks. The WPs group into four major categories: (1) the management; (2) the logistical planning of research services, which defines the scientific strategy of the future EMBRC and the infrastructural hardware needed to realise this strategy; (3) the support actions, which deal with the legal, financial, human resource, risk assessment and quality assurance procedures that will enable the future EMBRC to operate; and (4) outreach, which includes the engagement with different categories of stakeholders including financial stakeholders from the public and private sector, aspiring members, end users and the public at large.

Management:

WP1 - Management of the preparatory-phase of EMBRC: comprises tasks related to management of the preparatory phase, ensuring efficient internal flow of information within and between WP coordinators, the Steering Committee and the General Assembly. This WP produced two central policy documents, the first one dealt with the vision, scope and structure of EMBRCand the second one the business plan.
Logistical planning of research services:

WP2 - Planning of top-quality research services: Strategic work: consisted of identifying key scientific and technological themes relevant to EMBRC functioning, evaluating existing capacities within these thematic areas, collecting and integrating user needs to produce a strategic plan for future interoperability and development of these capacities, and identifying the new infrastructure required for implementation of this strategic vision.

WP3 - Planning e-infrastructures: consisted of a support action focused on assessing the requirements for the future EMBRC e-infrastructure. It delivered a plan to overcome major bottlenecks towards establishing key e-infrastructure components and services required for setting up and the initial functioning of EMBRC.

WP4 - Construction plans: included reviewing existing and planned infrastructures of ppEMBRC partners in order to identify elements relevant to the EMBRC, integrating future user needs, defining infrastructure standards, and producing an outline technical plan for proposed new infrastructures.
Support actions:

WP5 – Legal work: comprised the assessment of options for the governance and decision-making structure of the future EMBRC, addressing specific legal issues related to actions of the future EMBRC, production of a blueprint for a suitable legal framework for the EMBRC, and provision of the ready-to-sign legal documents required for the construction and operation of EMBRC.

WP6 – Financial work: evaluated potential sustainable financial models that would deliver the construction and operational needs of the future EMBRC, identify potential income streams, and prepare financial plans for implementation and operation of the EMBRC.

WP7 - Risk management and quality assurance: were developed to implement a coherent program of risk management and quality assurance procedures during the preparatory phase, and to plan the risk management and quality assurance/internal audit system for the future EMBRC.

WP8 - Human resources planning and policy: reviewed existing human resources at the nodes and formulated an integrated human resources plan for the EMBRC defining recruitment and training requirements. This WP also established an equal opportunities policy and prepared a socio-economic analysis of the impact of EMBRC.

Outreach:
WP9 – This WP dealt with consolidation of EMBRC, embedding with stakeholders and the wider community: identifying and engaging with the user and stakeholder communities, and taking actions designed to ensure harmonious integration of the EMBRC into the European fabric of related facilities.

WP10 – developed plans for uniform user access to EMBRC infrastructures: including procedures for improving and facilitating national and international access to the EMBRC through the definition of suitable user-friendly mechanisms and the establishment of an international Reference User Group.

WP11 - Communication and education: consisted of dissemination of preparatory phase activities to stakeholders and the wider public, as well as planning for outreach and education programs in the future EMBRC.
Although each of the WPs has its tasks and fields in which to operate, there are ample situations where a slight task overlap encouraged interactions and collaboration. Moreover, the WPs were dependent on each other because deliverables of WPs fed into tasks of other WPs creating a network of dependencies with the main objective to develop EMBRC business plan and memorandum of understanding (MoU)

Results by Work Package

WP1
D1.1 GA Kick-off meeting (M1)
During two days (24-25 February 2011, Naples, Italy), EMBRC members had the opportunity to discuss EMBRC strategies and share good practices with invited representatives from the European Commission, ESFRI-BMS, ESFRI RIs (BBMRI, LifeWatch, Euro-Argo, and Elixir) and other relevant European organisations (Marine Board, MRI Expert Group and MARBEF +). Also present were representatives from EMBRC Aspiring Partners (from Ireland, Israel, Lithuania and Russia) and from Italian organisations.
The General Assembly kick-off Meeting (GA-KOM) was the first milestone of the project and it was where the GA approved the members of the SC, the WP Coordinators and where preliminary strategy aspects were discussed.
A series of Press Releases to inform the public in general about the starting of ppEMBRC were prepared. This included an article published in Nature on the 21st Feb 2011, just before the event http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110221/full/470444a.html

D1.2) Mid term GA meeting
The Mid-Term GA meeting was organised at SZN (Naples) on the 11th September 2012 (M20) and important decisions were taken regarding the future legal structure of EMBRC (according to the requirements of the ERIC), operational model (subsidiary model) and governance structure with the presence of an EC ERIC expert. Other discussions and decisions focused on functional organisation and financing strategy as well as other strategic plans.

D1.3) End GA meeting
The final GA meeting was organised at SZN (Naples) on the 22 – 23rd January 2014. The GA approved final deliverables, and supported the legal and financial plans and the recommendations of the IAB in relation to the location of the future EMBRC central office. The GA agreed to establish an extended SC (including representatives of the MoU signatories) with support of the ppEMBRC management team to keep the group cohesive and active. The meeting focused also on conclusions of the preparatory phase, future recommendations from several WPs and discussions for strategic actions towards the implementation phase (including coordination with national funding stakeholders). The last day was dedicated to H2020 Calls. Several representatives from other ESFRI-RIs were invited to discuss potential applications to several calls and strategies for ppEMBRC partners’ participation and representation in consortiums.

D1.4 Management team appointed (M1)
The MT was appointed and was fully operating on the 1st February 2011, although D1.4 was only officially delivered to the EC at M4.

D1.5 Archiving system established (M2)
The archiving system procedures were established and included decision and invitation letter, external and internal signed communications, official and legal documentation, minutes of meetings, and other documentation with administrative consequences, including e-mails. This archiving system was implemented in an electronic system with secure back-up system.

D1.6 Analysis of progress relative to work plan (M12)
The analysis of the activities and objectives for the first year of ppEMBRC is presented in this report, which includes the description of the project, its achievements and future strategy. This report was elaborated with the collaboration of all WPs and partners.

D1.7 General Meetings planning (M3)
WP1 is responsible for the organisation of meetings gathering elements of GA, SC, WPC and general meetings, and to assure the coordination of WP meetings and workshops, including the optimisation of traveling budget among WPs and partners.
WP1 has been responsible for organising:
• GA (Kick-Off) meeting in 24-25 February 2011 (described in WP1 Achievement D1.1).
• GA (Mid-Term) meeting in 11–12 September 2012 (described in WP1 Achievement D1.2).
• SC meetings, normally on a monthly basis over telephone, skype or face-to-face meetings, on the 19th January 2011 (telephone conference), 7th February 2011 (telephone conference), 5th April 2011 (telephone conference), 12th May 2011 (telephone conference), 14th October (Plymouth, UK), 25th November 2011(Naples, Italy), 9-10 January 2012 (Olhão, Portugal), 8-9 February 2012 (Paris, France), 2nd March 2012 (skype), 23rd April 2012 (skype), 9th May 2012 (Naples, Italy), 23rd May 2012 (skype).
• WPC meetings: ppEMBRC WPs coordinators and/or Officers gathered to provide each other updates on the status of each WP, discuss problems found in achieving tasks and discuss together strategies to optimise the collaboration work. These meetings happened: 1) on 30th June – 1st July 2011 (Brest, France), included in the International Symposium: “The future of the 21st century ocean – Marine Sciences and European Research Infrastructures”; 2) on 9-10 January 2012 (Olhão, Portugal) in parallel to a SC, and RUG Meeting; 3) on the 3-5 July 2012 (St. Andrews, UK).
The plan of ppEMBRC meetings will be continuously updated and adjusted according to the project’s needs.

D1.8 Policy document on the vision, scope and structure of the EMBRC (M1)
EMBRC Policy document in the form of a Vision paper will be a continuous exercise that will be based on EU users’ needs (from Academia and Industry). When D1.8 was delivered (M8), it explained the importance, substance, opportunity, benefit and implementation of EMBRC, as well as the driving forces to implement EMBRC regarding access to Marine Biological Resources, improved handling, storing and sharing of marine biological data, training and education, and the key role of in-house staff. Also, the added value of EMBRC for Europe and regions was highlighted. The EMBRC Policy document will be updated and integrated in the EMBRC Business Plan (D1.9 month 18).

D1.9) EMBRC Business Case
Because some plans were not finalised at the time of the foreseen D1.9 delivery (planned for M18, but submitted by M21), it was decided to develop a Business Case that would support national negotiations at an earlier stage for the signature of the EMBRC Memorandum of Understanding. D1.9 describes among other things the EMBRC services, potential scientific and social-economic impacts, the foreseen future EMBRC organisation, governance and legal status (that were reformulated in a following Business Plan, D1.10) and the financial strategy for the nodes and central hub.

D1.10) EMBRC Business Plan

D1.10 came to substitute D1.9 (which was developed as a Business Case instead of a Business Plan). D1.10 describes the need to establish EMBRC and its potential impacts. It describes the mechanisms of EMBRC operation regarding its legal form and governance (developed with advice from the EC ERIC expert and some national requirements), the EMBRC existing and planned infrastructure and the activities to be developed by the EMBRC-ERIC. It also includes the financial plans for the implementation and operation phases. This report was distributed in November 2013 to the national and regional funding stakeholders, was made available in the ppEMBRC website and was lunched in a meeting organised by ppEMBRC where all key representatives from national and regional funding agencies were invited (3rd ppEMBRC Stakeholder meeting, Brussels, 17th December 2013).

WP2
D2.1 Report on key thematic areas (M3)
The report on EMBRC’s key thematic areas has incorporated information provided by all partners regarding their present and future scientific strategy (this survey was performed in collaboration with the surveys regarding physical infrastructures and existing human resources). Strategic landscape and policy drivers were identified (sustainable marine resources, health of the human population, biodiversity, food security and climate change). It was concluded in this report that EMBRC is well-placed to operate in the following research themes:
1) Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function
2) Developmental Biology and Evolution
3) Biogeochemistry and Global Change
4) Marine Products and Resources
5) Biomedical Science
Also identified were the services that EMBRC will be able to provide under each research theme and at each ppEMBRC partner. This report also identifies four working groups, responsible for the development of the EMBRC Scientific Strategy Report (D2.2). These groups are: 1) Aquaria and Culture; 2) Access to Ecosystem, 3) ‘Omics Technologies, and 4) Training and standards. The full report is accessible at www.embrc.eu/deliverables/D2_1.

D2.2 EMBRC scientific strategy report (M12)
The EMBRC Scientific Strategy Report describes how this distributed infrastructure will come about through the preparatory phase, the standards and services that it will provide and how it will operate and evolve through the remaining preparatory, construction and operations phases to establish EMBRC as a single entry point to European marine research infrastructure. The report defines the EMBRC service provisions, which will be centred around four core themes: Access to Ecosystem, Aquaria & Culture, ‘Omics technologies, and Mobility of Researchers and Users Access, including strategy recommendations for each theme. This report was developed with four work group coordinators (one for each core theme) and it was discussed with the RUG in the 2nd WPC meeting (M12, at Olhão, Portugal).
The report also provides guiding information for other ppEMBRC work packages by: i) highlighting e-infrastructure requirement for present and future services (WP3); ii) outlining infrastructure requirement to meet demands (WP4); iii) providing the vision, goal and structure of EMBRC on which to base the legal framework (WP5), and iv) identifying operational requirements to identify employee numbers and conditions of employment (WP8). The full report is accessible at http://www.embrc.eu/images/stories/News-Press/Press/Scientific_Strategy_Report_EMBRC-WP2.pdf.

D2.3) Strategic Report on new Infrastructure Requirements
This report set out to identify short-coming and gaps in the infrastructure that EMBRC will provide once operational. In order to identify service gaps, deliverables 3.1 3.2 4.1 and 4.2 were examined and compared to the service mapping exercise conducted in D2.1. In addition, the ASSEMBLE user community and the EMBRC Reference User Group (RUG) were asked to look at the online list of services from the website and suggest improvements in infrastructure that would be beneficial to them as well as any potential infrastructure gaps. The report looked at five strategic groupings of services: 1) Ecosystem and habitat access; 2) Scientific diving infrastructure; 3) Access to organisms and biological resources; 4) Bioinformatics and e-infrastructure; and 5) other services. Short-comings within these categories were listed along with recommendation of how to improve these service areas, striving to achieve a high level of service as well as how to avoid unsustainable exploitation of resources. The “other services” category highlighted the services areas that are currently thought to be at a good level, but noted that it is likely that gaps in the provision of services through these infrastructure components will only become apparent during the construction and operations phase when a clearer picture of demand and future developing areas emerges. The report also highlighted the need for introducing a “minimum service requirement” to ensure that a minimum of lab space and basic facilities are available for visiting scientists. This should be defined in the early stages of the implementation phase and follow the guidelines laid out in this report. Finally, this deliverable highlighted the pressing need for the set-up of knowledge and technology transfer platforms in EMBRC as this will be a vital service linking the public and private sectors.

D2.4) Recommendations for a recurrent scientific and technological review system
The recurrent scientific and technological review system was proposed in order to ensure the EMBRC remains a reactive research infrastructure, capable of changing and adapting its services and facilities to the needs of the users and to support strategically important platforms. The report recommends that the EMBRC node officers compile information regarding the state of infrastructure and demand of use of in-house facilities on a biennial basis to assess whether the infrastructure is adequate and if users are receiving a satisfactory level of service. The facilities review report will be submitted to the EMBRC Operational Committee (OC) for review and for additional technical advice regarding the adoption of new technology and best practices. The OC will then deliver the report to the EMBRC-ERIC Executive Director and will inform future decisions on infrastructure improvements and upgrades.

D2.5) Final Scientific Strategy Report
The final scientific strategy report constitutes an update of D2.2 to bring the science strategy in line with the EMBRC business plan, other relevant EMBRC deliverables and the removal of redundant information. D2.5 was again centred on the four core themes of Access to Ecosystems, Aquaria and Culture, ‘omics Technologies and Mobility of Researchers and User Access. However, the report no longer covered other work packages such as e-infrastructure (WP-3), legal status (WP-5) or human resources (WP-8). Instead the report focused on the services and improvements required for operational status of EMBRC at the node level as well as providing recommendations on some of the services that will be provided by the EMBRC-ERIC Secretariat (e.g. Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Joint Development Activities). The report also provided recommendations on future collaboration with other ESFRI research infrastructures, Joint Programming Initiatives, ERA-NETS and other EU funded initiatives. This section in particular needed up-dating in light of the EMBRC Research Infrastructure Collaboration Workshop that was co-organised by WP2 in 2013. This workshop provided highly relevant insight to future collaborations and the establishment of a research infrastructure community. Engaging with the private sector will be key to the success of EMBRC and the report outlines some general recommendations on how to engage with industry and SMEs. The strategic positioning of EMBRC in Horizon 2020 is also touched upon.

WP3
D3.1 Report on survey of e-infrastructure requirements and potential eWork-flow scenarios (M13)
This report was based on bioinformatics needs information provided by all ppEMBRC partners, and accessed during the WP3 International Workshop (28-30 March 2012, Heidelberg, Germany). The report consists in a small and well defined set of potential eWork-flow scenarios and hardware and software benchmarks for the future e-infrastructure.

D3.2 Detailed evaluation of potential e-workflow scenarios
This report described four sample workflows that exemplify data intensive marine science:
i) Sequencing genomes and transcriptomes using Platynereis dumerilii as an example
ii) Developing model organisms with Clytia hemisphaerica, Phallusia mammillata and Patiria minata as examples.
iii) Modeling marine species distributions by aggregating taxon observation records and environmental data to characterize species distribution ranges.
iv) Using historical datasets to augment ‘omics data to understand ecological change over time.
The main conclusions of the report are that EMBRC partners need robust connections to public data resources, tools for data processing (hardware, storage, software), and data and analysis experts to keep track of the changing bioinformatics and analysis landscape.

D3.3 Plan for the requirements of the EMBRC e-infrastructure
This report provides the guiding principles for EMBRC e-infrastructure, explores possible models for the e-infrastructure and its functional activities, the hardware requirements, staff and services required, and the EMBRC e-infrastructure integration with other infrastructures and projects.

WP4
D4.1 Inventory of existing infrastructures (M6)
An extensive questionnaire on Research Infrastructures was developed with WP4 colleagues and this served to capture quantitative and operational data on existing and planned RIs including investments and potential EMBRC access. The report regarding the inventory of existing infrastructures was elaborated after a compilation of information provided by all ppEMBRC partners about physical infrastructures, including buildings, ships, research laboratories, major instrumentation, biological models and resources, access to organisms and ecosystems, teaching facilities, hosting facilities and other research infrastructures. This report contains preliminary information about the levels and modalities of commitment of each ppEMBRC partner, i.e. preliminary information regarding each institute’s facilities that will be dedicated/or accessible to EMBRC in the future.

D4.2 Inventory of future national infrastructure plans (M6)
The information for the inventory of future national infrastructure plans was compiled in parallel to D4.1 and contains information regarding the future national construction plans and funding status in all ppEMBRC partner institutes. This report contains the assessment of the impact of future national construction plans on EMBRC.

D4.3) EMBRC Infrastructure Roadmap Report
The EMBRC Roadmap Report is based on information presented in earlier Deliverables D4.1 and D4.2 and new information and data collected at EMBRC meetings and through on-site visits and communications with ppEMBRC partners between April 2012 and January 2013. D4.3 comprised an overview of the existing marine research infrastructure of ppEMBRC and an outline plan for the construction of new infrastructure from 2013 to 2016, which provides a starting point for the integrated multinational planning of marine research infrastructure construction. D4.3 is a ppEMBRC milestone and it provides the basis for the EMBRC Business Plan. It will serve as underlying document for the next phases beyond the preparatory phase mainly by informing (a) the financial and construction plans of future EMBRC (future EMBRC roadmaps) and (b) the EMBRC infrastructure database. D4.3 is a living document and it will be updated continuously through consultation of EMBRC partners of MoU signatories during the construction and operation phase.

WP5
D5.4) Specific legal issues “Scientific exploitation of marine bioresources”
WP5 carried out a comprehensive study on legal issues relating to the access and collection of marine resources, their use, transformation or manipulation, as well, as their supply (exchange, transport and sale). Consequently, WP5 recommended that a legal monitoring system based on the use of marine bio-resources should be implemented within the context of EMBRC, updating existing legal regimes pertinent to marine bio-resources. It was recommended that the legal monitoring system was led by the EMBRC legal officer with close collaboration of a “legal monitoring committee”. The need was identified to implement a reporting procedure for the use of EMBRC resources by hosted researchers at each node.

D5.5) European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) Memorandum of Understanding
According to the objectives described in the DoW, this report presents the EMBRC Memorandum of Understanding, providing the legal framework for the implementation phase. During the preparatory phase, the partners studied several legal forms for the structure of the project, its impacts and feasibility. Consequently, ppEMBRC considered the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) was the most suitable legal form for EMBRC and suggested establishing a European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). In order to accomplish this goal, the legal work package drafted the memorandum of understanding, a non-legally binding agreement between the countries which intended to coordinate their activities and work together towards the construction and operation of EMBRC. By signing the EMBRC MoU, the signatories establish their intention to work together during the implementation phase and define a clear line of action from now on without, necessarily, forming legally binding constraints.

D5.6) Report on options for governance models, decision-making process and legal framework for the future of EMBRC
As justified in the ppEMBRC 1st Progress Report, D5.6 comprises former deliverables 5.1 5.2 and 5.3 (Tasks 5.1 and 5.3). D5.6 was carried out by evaluating the responses of eleven EMBRC partners to a survey developed by WP5 (Legal Issues), regarding “Legal forms, constraints, governance & general questions”; presenting examples of governance models; comparing legal form for European research infrastructures and presenting a SWOT analysis of legal forms. Regarding the survey among pp EMBRC partners did not demonstrated objective legal constraints for the stations/Local Nodes to become a member of a legal entity. Setting aside exceptional case (e.g. EMBL), the willing of Stations/Local Nodes seems to be the only absolute constraint to join an independent legal entity. Consequently, the analysis of the existing legal forms performed by WP5 demonstrated that the European research infrastructure consortium was the most convenient legal form for the establishment and operation of EMBRC, because of its subsidiary model and distributed operation. The proposed EMBRC-ERIC will maintain a central hub, comprising a Director and a Secretariat. The user services will be performed on-site at EMBRC nodes in multiple locations and in different countries. Based on this decision, WP5 presented a governance structure scheme developed to incorporate the recommendations of the Assessment Expert Group (AEG) report and to show a stronger relationship between the EMBRC core and the nodes. The Blueprint for EMBRC governance structure was officially presented at ppEMBRC Open meeting in Banyuls-sur-mer in October 2013.

D5.7) Report on Specific legal issues – Part II Preliminary Considerations on EMBRC Intellectual Property Policy
D5.7 compiled the preliminary considerations on EMBRC Intellectual Policy. This report provided a complete overview of the main issues to consider for creating an intellectual property policy and outlines a consensus proposal of the criteria that can be implemented in the future phases. The intellectual property policy will link the legal, operational and economical aspects of EMBRC and will create a consolidated strategic tool for the management of these valuable assets.

D5.8) The Statutes of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre – European Research Infrastructure Consortium (EMBRC-ERIC Statutes)
Following the decision the EMBRC Steering Committee (SC) decision to apply for an ERIC, WP5 started the drafting of EMBRC-ERIC statutes because the ipEMBRC members should agree on the governance structure of the ERIC in the statutes. With objective of improving the comprehensibility of the legal form adopted, WP5 appointed the international legal firm Bird & Bird to carry out this work.

WP6
Significant results: WP6 finalised the EMBRC cost model and estimated the capital and the revenue requirements for the implementation and operation phases of EMBRC, and analysed its financial sustainability based on the planned EMBRC-ERIC organisation and legal structure considering different scenarios of Member States contributions (depending on the number of countries to entering full membership), grants and other sources. These analyses are described in D6.2 and D6.4/5/6.
D6.1 Workshop/s reports on integrated funding strategy I. WP6 Workshop was organized on 12-13 December 2011 (Paris, France), in line with WP5. Several aspects related to Finance issues were discussed in this workshop that gathered all ppEMBRC institutes financial officers. D6.1 is the report of this workshop.

D6.3 EMBRC cost models early report. This report compiles the conclusions from WP6 Workshop.


WP7
D7.2 Adoption of Risk management and QA/IA protocols for ppEMBRC (M12)
After the analysis of potential software options for adopt within the ppEMBRC Risk management and Quality Assurance protocols, which took into account a number of requirements, the WP7 team selected an option. This option had already been implemented within a complex, distributed academic environment by USTAN. This involved adapting the current institutions’ corporate risk management software to meet the needs of the EMBRC. This software was subjected to EMBRC internal evaluation (by UNI Sars Centre). The software was chosen because it represented best value for money and was the most suitable for EMBRC needs. WP7 elaborated a manual of Risk Management and Quality Assurance (RM&QA) which includes information on managing risk within the EMBRC, the risk register and quality assurance protocols. There is also a comprehensive risk register. The processes used for decision making was reviewed and responsibility definitions were established. Specific quality control procedures were specified for each WP and a criterion for audit performance was defined. A series of SOP documents were produced to establish policies covering aspects related to health, security, operational line management standards and data management. Also defined were the procedures for performance reporting to ppEMBRC management and governance. The adoption of the Risk management QA/IA protocol was an important achievement in ppEMBRC because it reinforced the implementation of EMBRC procedures, after a critical and technical analysis of the preliminary established procedures.

D7.3 Completion of staff training (M12)
WP7 Officer and WP7 Assistant (UNI Sars Centre) have received training in the risk management software and tools on 30th September 2011, at USTAN by the USTAN Risk Adviser and the WP7 Officer receive administrator training on 5th March 2012. WP7 elaborated a video with instructions on how to use the EMBRC Risk Register, which was distributed among WP institutional contact points. The demonstration video is also on website within the secure pages, accessible through the WP7 area within the list of work packages: http://www.embrc.eu/index.php/risk-management-quality-assurance/wp-7-risk-management.html
A training plan has been generated; training will either occur in a workshop or by telephone conferencing with the possibility of personalised follow-ups to ensure appropriate level of understanding. It will involve a discussion on the understanding of risk and how to apply this to the EMBRC, information on likelihood and supervision for new user inputting data into the software. The training is designed with a view for users to gain competence.

D7.4 Periodic reporting on deviations to risk protocols I (M18)
WP7 team synthesized the information regarding deviations to risk protocols into a coherent risk management and QA/IA system for ppEMBRC (D7.1) to be submitted to the SC for adoption at month 18.

D7.5) Periodic reporting on deviations to risk protocols II:
WP7 team synthesized the information regarding deviations to risk protocols into a coherent risk management and QA/IA system for ppEMBRC (D7.2) which was submitted to the SC for adoption at month 24.
D7.6) Periodic reporting on deviations to risk protocols III:
WP7 team synthesized the information regarding deviations to risk protocols into a coherent risk management and QA/IA system for ppEMBRC (D7.2) which was submitted to the SC for adoption at month 32.

D7.7) Plan for risk management and QA&IA system for EMBRC construction and operation phases:
WP7 team synthesized a report (April 2013) providing details on risk assessment and QA/IA system for EMBRC, which was submitted to the SC for adoption at month 32.
The processes used for decision making was reviewed and responsibility definitions were established. Specific quality control procedures were identified and detailed. A series of SOP documents were produced to establish policies covering aspects related to health and safety, operational line management standards and data management.

WP8
D8.1 Report on existing HR capacities (M3)
The report on existing HR was elaborated in the basis of information provided by all ppEMBRC partners regarding contracts of employment (terms and conditions), provisions (sick pay, pension, training analysis, holidays), procedures for performance appraisal, promotion, funding (staff costs), work measurement, professional development process, personal benefits (non-salary), staff characterisation (numbers, categories, grades, gender), salary structure, taxation of salaries and benefits, relationship between pay and performance, succession planning, patterns of working and flexibility in working, disciplinary process, selection process, maternity/paternity benefits, trade union structure and benefits, redundancy/job security process, notice periods, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property regulations, equal opportunities, salary structure/ job evaluation and inducting new staff.

D8.2) Forecast of HR requirements
After the identification by the Scientific Steering Committee of the positions required for the EMBRC ERIC secretariat, a job analysis was conducted. A questionnaire was elaborated and sent to persons holding similar positions in research centres. In order to get more information and clarification, structured interviews were also conducted. The information obtained from these two instruments, as well as from occupational databases and professional organization data sources, allowed a complete formal description of each position: Executive Director, Financial Manager, Programme Administrator, Knowledge Manager/Innovation Officer, Promotion, Communication, Marketing and Outreach Officer and Secretary. A draft of the job descriptions was sent out to every partner for suggestions and contributions. After having analysed the comments, D8.2 was delivered.

D8.3) Equal opportunities Plan (EOP)
D8.3 was the result of an extensive review of European and non-European best practices, projects, reports and legislation in the field of equal opportunities, diversity in the workplace, women and gender in science. EMBRC partners were also consulted and asked to provide their actions and results in this area. The output was 39 recommendations that comprise the EMBRC Equal Opportunities Plan. The proposal is expected to help the achievement of equal opportunities and fairness in EMBRC.

D8.5) Analysis of socio-economic impact of EMBRC
Each EMBRC node was asked to complete an online questionnaire, based on the FenRIAM framework . The objective of this questionnaire was to get data to understand how each node estimated the impact of the EMBRC implementation. This socio economic impact assessment questionnaire had a 73% rate of response. The data collected in the survey as well as from EMBRC sources, fed a financial and cost - benefit analysis study. It concluded that EMBRC is highly desirable from a Socio-economic point of view and will contribute to improve the welfare of the communities in the regions.

D8.6) Human Resources Plan (HRP)
The EMBRC Human Resources plan comprises:
• the EMBRC’s mission, vision, values, organogram, culture and ethics;
• the description of the conditions of employment, roles and responsibilities, personnel costs and the timescale for setting talent and skills;
• guidelines for the recruitment, selection, integration, performance, promotion, training, development, termination of contracts and succession, health and safety and equal opportunities within the EMBRC- ERIC.
The proposed best practices derive from EMBRC reports as well as publications from reference institutions from the HR field.

WP9
D9.1 Stakeholder database (M6)
The ppEMBRC stakeholders’ database gathers the contacts of all types of stakeholders, with potential interest in EMBRC:
• Users at national, European and international level (academic, industry/SME, NGO and policy makers and scientific users).
• Potential funders from public sector (including regional public sector) and private sector.
• Other ESFRI-RIs.
• Industry/SME (and scientific users).
• Research Training Networks.
• European and global marine organisations.
• Aspiring new partners
The databases will be continuously updated with information and contacts at national, European and international level.

D9.2) Report on stakeholder workshop
D9.2 consolidates the resume of all meetings organised during ppEMBRC focusing on different stakeholder groups. The meetings organised during the second reporting period are listed in this deliverable.

D9.3) Alliances with other cognate infrastructure
This deliverable involved contacting representatives of ESFRI-RI projects, initiatives in Biological and medical Sciences and Environment for exploring areas of common interest for cooperation with EMBRC. A survey was undertaken using a cooperation scheme and the outcome provided a detailed overview of areas of potential cooperation with interested ESFRI´s. This cooperation scheme is also being used to develop joint applications in the scope of H2020 calls (2014/2015).

D9.4) Short-list of potential new partners
WP9 has engaged with, visited and evaluated potential new partners of EMBRC (Aspiring partners), according the criteria for acceptance of new partners (D9.5) and of these approved the following as full new partners of ppEMBRC: BELGIUM (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee and University of Gent), DENMARK (Arktisk Station Disko; Greenland and Marine Biological Section Helsingoer - University of Copenhagen; Danish Shellfish Centre - Danish Technical University; Daneborg and Zackenberg Stations, East Greenland, and Marine Biology Station, Roenbjerg - University of Aarhus; and Marine Biological Research Centre - University of Southern Denmark), FINLAND (Tvärminne Zoological Station – University of Helsinki), ISRAEL (Interuniversity for Marine Sciences, Eilat), LITHUANIA (Coastal Research and Planning Institute - Klaipeda University), SPAIN (Marine Sciences Station of Toralla - University of Vigo; Plentzia Marine Station – University of the Basque Country), NEDERLANDS (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research). Potential new members of EMBRC of which there is an open communication: IRELAND (Irish Marine Institute, communicating with the Universities of Galway and Cork), MALTA (Malta Council for Science and Technology and the AquaBioTech Group), POLAND (Institute of Oceanology - Polish Academy of Sciences), RUSSIA (White Sea Biological Station “Nikolai Pertsov” of Biology faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University and White Sea Biological Station “Kartesh” of Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences) and TURKEY (Tübitak Marmara Research Center; the Environment Institute – Marine and Inland Water Unit).

D9.5) Criteria and process for integration of new partners into EMBRC
D9.5 criteria were used to establish ppEMBRC associate Partners.

WP10
D10.1 Harmonisation of pathways providing information on access to the EMBRC (M12).
WP10 organised a survey across all ppEMBRC partners to gather information regarding each partner users. This survey took into account the types of users, types of paths for institution access dissemination, the mechanisms for users’ access (scientific evaluation, fees, cost of research associated, etc…), conditions of on-site access (institution responsibility in case of accidents, safety regulations, procedures for check-in, lab material available, intellectual property rights) and access to local ecosystems and to specific sites. This survey was the basis for D10.1 but will also be used for D10.2 D10.3 and D10.4).
D10.1 compiles the information regarding the information pathways obtained from ppEMBRC partners and also from feed-back received from ASSEMBLE users during the ASSEMBLE Workshop on on-site access (June 2011), to which the WP10 Coordinator was invited to attend. D10.1 provides recommendations on how to harmonise information pathways in future EMBRC.

D10.2 Definition of mechanisms of access (M18)
WP10 explored the mechanisms of user access to ppEMBRC partner's facilities, and to access providing projects and networks like ASSEMBLE, Instruct of ShareBiotech. WP10 also discussed user access mechanisms at marine stations external to ppEMBRC during a EuroMarine workshop (January 2012), to which the WP coordinator had been invited to attend. Under discussion had been mechanism for on-site and for remote access (usage of e-resources and material supply services) as well as a differentiation of access terms for different user groups, and of users from different nationalities, such as for users from countries outside the EU. D10.2 provides best practise guidelines for user friendly and uniform user access mechanisms in the future EMBRC.

D10.3) Outline for the preparation and submission of user proposals
WP10 evaluated the ASSEMBLE format for access proposals and their evaluation in terms of its suitability for EMBRC, and interviewed members of the ASSEMBLE User Selection Panel about their experiences with the evaluation process. Recommendations were formulated for the development of e-forms and procedures for access proposal preparation, submission and evaluation.

D10.4) Political, diplomatic and security issues of operating in remote areas
WP10 evaluated the possibility to access sites that are of special interest for EMBRC but present particular access difficulties within the scope of EMBRC and by means of infrastructures owned by EMBRC partners (and offered to EMBRC). These sites are polar regions, deep-sea sites (2000m+), tropical reefs and test sites, impacted sites as well as artificial reefs. EMBRC potentially can provide users with access to all these habitats through ppEMBRC partners and associated partners, with research platforms owned by EMBRC partners.
• Polar environments can be accessed through ppEMBRC partners’ own infrastructures, however, often collaborations with other national institutes or research programmes is needed. Logistical and access costs are both high. Therefore, a regular access provision for EMBRC users is not seen as feasible. The Associate Partner Denmark runs a polar station on Greenland that is usable the whole year and easier accessible than what can be offered by current ppEMBRC partners.
• HCMR and OOV can offer access to nearby deep-sea environments. In addition, SAMS can provide access to databases relating to its long history of work in the deep-sea.
• Cold-water reefs and artificial reefs are accessible through current ppEMBRC partners. The associate partner Israel offers easy access to tropical coral reefs.
• All ppEMBRC partners can offer access to anthropogenic structured or impacted sites, although they are currently not listed as accessible sites.
Provision of access to as broad a variety of marine environments and ecosystems as possible must be balanced with logistics efforts and costs. Therefore, WP 10 recommended establishing cooperation agreements with other ESFRI projects, mainly to facilitate access to a variety of polar regions and deep-sea sites and to avoid duplication of services.

D10.5) Scenarios for mutual use of infrastructures with other ESFRIs
WP 10 evaluated, discussed and described possibilities for EMBRC to cooperate with EMBRC-external access providers in respect to user access to facilities and services. Discussions with representatives of EMBRC-external access providers took mainly place during a 3-day workshop organised by ppEMBRC in Crete in May 2013. WP 10 saw advantages for EMBRC and its users in cooperating with access providers external to EMBRC. This interest in collaboration with the aim of harmonising access procedures and mutualising user access to research infrastructures is shared by different European access providers. WP 10 recommended focusing collaborative efforts on sharing access protocols, enabling the transfer of users or access applications between RIs, enabling co-applications, and synchronising access calls. A workshop should be organised in the beginning of the implementation phase specifically aimed at mutualising access and harmonising procedures between EMBRC and other interested access providers.

D10.6 Establish an intermediate RUG (M6)
The categories for the reference user groups were established in the GA-KOM (February 2011) and potential RUG members for all RUG groups were suggested by all ppEMBRC members. These suggestions were evaluated by the SC and the selected persons were contacted and invited to become part of ppEMBRC RUG. The intermediate RUG group was established for the first phase of ppEMBRC and is composed of:

Academic users:
• Melody Clark, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
• Alenka Malej, Morska biološka postaja, Piran, Slovenia
• Peter T.M. Madsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark
• Christopher Bridges, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany

Scientific societies:
• Physiological Society, London, UK, represented by its president Mike Spyer
• Society of Experimental Biology, London, UK, represented by David McKenzie
• European Molecular Biology Organisation, represented by Michele S. Garfinkel

Industry and SMEs:
• Christian Hamm, IMARE – institute for marine resources GmbH, Bremerhaven, Germany
• European Aquaculture Society, represented by Kjell Maroni, Aquaculture Director of the Norwegian Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund

NGOs and policy makers:
• Adi Kellermann, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Copenhagen, Denmark
• Bart-Jan Calewaert, Marine Board, Oostende, Belgium

The intermediate Reference User Group gave input to the deliverables due by M12. Four members attended an EMBRC meeting in Portugal (January 2012) to discuss EMBRC progress.

D10.7) Procedures for the establishment of a User Forum
A Reference User Group of Stakeholders (RUG) was established (see 1st progress report and D10.6) and the performance evaluated. WP 10 prepared a proposal on how to implement such an advisory body for the implementation and operational phase of EMBRC. The proposal influenced the setting up of the business plan and the ERIC statutes.
The executive director of EMBRC and the Governing Board will be advised by a set of advising bodies, including a User Forum consisting of representatives of the EMBRC user community (academia, local node resident researchers, industry, etc.).
Currently it is foreseen that:
The User Forum will give advice and feedback on services and service provision. The EMBRC-ERIC Governing Board will define the terms of reference of the User Forum.
The User Forum will be composed of an odd number of independent experts, of whom one shall be appointed chair. The Governing Board shall establish the number of members, which may be varied from time to time. The duration of the term of the appointment of the members will be two years, and may be renewed twice consecutively for the same period of time. If any member seeks further re-appointment then such re-appointment shall be subject to ratification by the Governing Board.
The initial members of the User Forum will be appointed by the Governing Board. After the initial appointment of the members of the User Forum, the appointment of new members will be made by the Governing Board, based on a list of candidates prepared by the User Forum itself.
The User Forum meets whenever necessary and, at least, once per year. The Governing Board or the Director may ask the chair of the Advisory Body to convene the members of the Advisory Body to request them to consider and make recommendations on issues that it needs to resolve.
The decisions of the User Forum are to be passed by the simple majority of the votes of the members attending the meeting.
The Director is entitled to attend all meetings of the User Forum as an observer.
Members of the EMBRC-ERIC may, where invited, attend meetings of the User Forum as observers.
The secretariat evaluates the performance of the User Forum at a regular two-year basis and present recommendations to the Governing Board to improve the interaction and functioning of this advisory body.

WP11
D11.1) ppEMBRC website
The ppEMBRC website (launched in August 2011) as well as EMBRC accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn were systematically updated during the project with information regarding events, internal and external outputs, announcements, news, job offers and articles. During the second reporting period ppEMBRC website had a total of 9 534 visits (6 869 unique users), with an average time/visit of 02:36 min. Visitors came mostly from France (14.0 %), UK (9.6 %), USA (7.6 %), Italy (5.7 %) and Sweden (5.6 %). EMBRC Facebook account has 62 followers and EMBRC LinkedIn account has 530 followers.

D11.2 ppEMBRC newsletter I (M6)
ppEMBRC newsletter 1 was published in September 2011 and sent to all ppEMBRC members and other contacts compiled during project’s execution. D11.2 provided general introduction information about ppEMBRC.

D11.3 ppEMBRC newsletter II (M12)
ppEMBRC newsletter II was published in March 2012 and sent to all ppEMBRC members and other contacts compiled during project’s execution.

D11.5) ppEMBRC newsletter IV
ppEMBRC newsletter IV was published in January 2013.

D11.6) ppEMBRC newsletter V
ppEMBRC newsletter V, initially planned on September 2013, was published in January 2014. It provides a review of the latest activities and events. Featured items include the Status of EMBRC Memorandum of Understanding, the ppEMBRC Business plan and the EMBRC Open meeting in Banyuls-sur-Mer. An update on relevant findings in marine research is also provided.

D11.7) ppEMBRC newsletter VI
ppEMBRC newsletter VI was published in March 2014

D11.8) Plans for dissemination and outreach tools and actions
The dissemination plan is a living document whose main objectives are to identify and organise the activities to be performed in order to build a joint infrastructure through EMBRC nodes. After identifying the main risks, a tailored strategy has been set up with internal and external communication tools. This network will need to be managed to maintain a dynamic link between the nodes and lead to more opportunities. To prepare this document, an inventory of existing outreach activities at each of the ppEMBRC partners has been conducted and innovative and attractive instruments for communication and outreach have been reviewed. A workshop was convened in October 2013 in order to assess options for actions to be implemented in the future EMBRC. Recommendations from this workshop have been fed into the report. Based on these elements, the experience gained during ppEMBRC and after external advices from experts (AquaTT), the WP11 team has formulated a proposal (D11.8) concerning EMBRC dissemination tools, public relations and outreach. D11.8 was delivered in December 2013.

D11.9) EMBRC education plan
D11.9 identifies what kind of training & education is available among the ppEMBRC partners and across the EU and what are the current and future trend and training needs in marine sciences in the EU. This report provides some recommendations to minimize training gaps.

D11.10) Plans for digital library
The main objectives were to identify the available resources in order to build an accessible online portal for library resources. An important objective was to plan for digitalization of information in old books and monographs, which are rare and/or no longer easily accessible to the wider community. After identifying the existing library resources (on-site and remote) at ppEMBRC partner institutes through a questionnaire, some recommendations were made for their integration and development. This digital library will be continuously updated and lead to more accessible online resources and services.


Management:
WP1 - Management of the preparatory-phase of EMBRC: comprises tasks related to management of the preparatory phase, ensuring efficient internal flow of information within and between WP coordinators, the Steering Committee and the General Assembly. This WP produces two central policy documents, the first one the vision, scope and structure of EMBRC, the second one on the final business plan.
Logistical planning of research services:
WP2 - Planning of top-quality research services: Strategic work: consists of identifying key scientific and technological themes relevant to EMBRC functioning, evaluating existing capacities within these thematic areas, collecting and integrating user needs to produce a strategic plan for future interoperability and development of these capacities, and identifying the new infrastructure required for implementation of this strategic vision.
WP3 - Planning e-infrastructures: consists of a support action focused on assessing the requirements for the future EMBRC e-infrastructure. It will determine and provide a plan to overcome major bottlenecks towards establishing key e-infrastructure components and services required for setting up and initial functioning of the EMBRC.
WP4 - Construction plans: includes reviewing existing and planned infrastructures of ppEMBRC partners in order to identify elements relevant to the EMBRC, integrating future user needs, defining infrastructure standards, and producing an outline technical plan for proposed new infrastructures.
Support actions:
WP5 – Legal work: comprises assessment of options for the governance and decision-making structure of the future EMBRC, addressing specific legal issues related to actions of the future EMBRC, production of a blueprint for a suitable legal framework for the EMBRC, and provision of the ready-to-sign legal documents required for the construction and operation of EMBRC.
WP6 – Financial work: will evaluate potential sustainable financial models that will deliver the construction and operational needs of the future EMBRC, identifies potential income streams, and prepares financial plans for implementation and operation of the EMBRC.
WP7 - Risk management and quality assurance: will implement a coherent program of risk management and quality assurance during the preparatory phase project, and will plan the risk management and quality assurance/internal audit system for the future EMBRC.
WP8 - Human resources planning and policy: will review existing human resources and formulate an integrated human resources plan for the EMBRC defining recruitment and training requirements, will establish an equal opportunities policy and will prepare a socio-economic analysis of the impact of EMBRC.
Outreach:
WP9 - Consolidation of EMBRC, embedding with stakeholders and the wider community: will identify and engage with the user and stakeholder communities, and take actions designed to ensure harmonious integration of the EMBRC into the European fabric of related facilities.
WP10 - Uniform user access to EMBRC infrastructures: will develop plans for improving and facilitating national and international access to the EMBRC through the definition of suitable user-friendly access mechanisms and the establishment of an international Reference User Group.
WP11 - Communication and education: consists of dissemination of preparatory phase activities to stakeholders and the wider public, as well as planning for outreach and education programs in the future EMBRC.
Although each of the WPs has its tasks and fields in which to operate, there are ample situations where a slight task overlap encourages interactions and collaboration. Moreover, the WPs depend on each other because deliverables of WPs feed into tasks of other WPs into a network of dependencies with the main objective to develop EMBRC business plan and memorandum of understanding (MoU)
Results per Work Package
WP1
D1.2) Mid term GA meeting
The Mid-Term GA meeting was organised at SZN (Naples) on the 11th September 2012 (M20) and important decisions were taken regarding the future legal structure of EMBRC (according requirements of the ERIC), operational model (subsidiary model) and governance structure with the presence of an EC ERIC expert. Other discussions and decisions focused on functional organisation and financing strategy as well as other strategic plans.
D1.3) End GA meeting
The final GA meeting was organised at SZN (Naples) on the 22 – 23rd January 2014. The GA approved final deliverables, and supported the legal and financial plans and the recommendations of the IAB in relation to the location of the future EMBRC central office. The GA agreed to establish an extended SC (including representatives of the MoU signatories) with support of the ppEMBRC management team to keep the group cohesive and active. The meeting focused also on conclusions of the preparatory phase, future recommendations from several WPs and discussions for strategic actions towards the implementation phase (including coordination with national funding stakeholders). The last day was dedicated to H2020 Calls. Several representatives from other ESFRI-RIs were invited to discuss potential applications to several calls and strategies for ppEMBRC partners’ participation and representation in consortiums.
D1.9) EMBRC Business Case
Because some plans were not finalised at the time of the foreseen D1.9 delivery (planned for M18, but submitted by M21), it was decided to develop a Business Case that would support national negotiations at an earlier stage for the signature of the EMBRC Memorandum of Understanding. D1.9 describes among other things the EMBRC services, potential scientific and social-economic impacts, the foreseen future EMBRC organisation, governance and legal status (that were reformulated in a following Business Plan, D1.10) and the financial strategy for the nodes and central hub.
D1.10) EMBRC Business Plan
D1.10 came to substitute D1.9 (which was developed as a Business Case instead of a Business Plan). D1.10 describes the need to establish EMBRC and its potential impacts. It describes the mechanisms of EMBRC operation regarding its legal form and governance (developed with advice from the EC ERIC expert and some national requirements), the EMBRC existing and planned infrastructure and the activities to be developed by the EMBRC-ERIC. It also includes the financial plans for the implementation and operation phases. This report was distributed in November 2013 to the national and regional funding stakeholders, was made available in the ppEMBRC website and was lunched in a meeting organised by ppEMBRC where all key representatives from national and regional funding agencies were invited (3rd ppEMBRC Stakeholder meeting, Brussels, 17th December 2013).
WP2
D2.3) Strategic Report on new Infrastructure Requirements
This report set out to identify short-coming and gaps in the infrastructure that EMBRC will provide once operational. In order to identify service gaps, deliverables 3.1 3.2 4.1 and 4.2 were examined and compared to the service mapping exercise conducted in D2.1. In addition, the ASSEMBLE user community and the EMBRC Reference User Group (RUG) were asked to look at the online list of services from the website and suggest improvements in infrastructure that would be beneficial to them as well as any potential infrastructure gaps. The report looked at five strategic groupings of services: 1) Ecosystem and habitat access; 2) Scientific diving infrastructure; 3) Access to organisms and biological resources; 4) Bioinformatics and e-infrastructure; and 5) other services. Short-comings within these categories were listed along with recommendation of how to improve these service areas, striving to achieve a high level of service as well as how to avoid unsustainable exploitation of resources. The “other services” category highlighted the services areas that are currently thought to be at a good level, but noted that it is likely that gaps in the provision of services through these infrastructure components will only become apparent during the construction and operations phase when a clearer picture of demand and future developing areas emerges. The report also highlighted the need for introducing a “minimum service requirement” to ensure that a minimum of lab space and basic facilities are available for visiting scientists. This should be defined in the early stages of the implementation phase and follow the guidelines laid out in this report. Finally, this deliverable highlighted the pressing need for the set-up of knowledge and technology transfer platforms in EMBRC as this will be a vital service linking the public and private sectors.
D2.4) Recommendations for a recurrent scientific and technological review system
The recurrent scientific and technological review system was proposed in order to ensure the EMBRC remains a reactive research infrastructure, capable of changing and adapting its services and facilities to the needs of the users and to support strategically important platforms. The report recommends that the EMBRC node officers compile information regarding the state of infrastructure and demand of use of in-house facilities on a biennial basis to assess whether the infrastructure is adequate and if users are receiving a satisfactory level of service. The facilities review report will be submitted to the EMBRC Operational Committee (OC) for review and for additional technical advice regarding the adoption of new technology and best practices. The OC will then deliver the report to the EMBRC-ERIC Executive Director and will inform future decisions on infrastructure improvements and upgrades.
D2.5) Final Scientific Strategy Report
The final scientific strategy report is constitutes an update of D2.2 to bring the science strategy in line with the EMBRC business plan, other relevant EMBRC deliverables and the removal of redundant information. D2.5 is again centred on the four core themes of Access to Ecosystems, Aquaria and Culture, ‘omics Technologies and Mobility of Researchers and User Access. However, the report no longer covers other work packages such as e-infrastructure (WP-3), legal status (WP-5) or human resources (WP-8). Instead the report covers the services and improvements required for operational status of EMBRC at the node level as well as providing recommendations on some of the services that will be provided by the EMBRC-ERIC Secretariat (e.g. Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Joint Development Activities). The report also provides recommendations on future collaboration with other ESFRI research infrastructures, Joint Programming Initiatives, ERA-NETS and other EU funded initiatives. This section in particular needed up-dating in light of the EMBRC Research Infrastructure Collaboration Workshop that was co-organised by WP2 in 2013. This workshop provided highly relevant insight to future collaborations and the establishment of a research infrastructure community. Engaging with the private sector will be key to the success of EMBRC and the report outlines some general recommendations on how to engage with industry and SMEs. The strategic positioning of EMBRC in Horizon 2020 is also touched upon.
WP3
D3.2 Detailed evaluation of potential e-workflow scenarios
This report describes four sample workflows that exemplify data intensive marine science:
i) Sequencing genomes and transcriptomes using Platynereis dumerilii as an example
ii) Developing model organisms with Clytia hemisphaerica, Phallusia mammillata and Patiria minata as examples.
iii) Modeling marine species distributions by aggregating taxon observation records and environmental data to characterize species distribution ranges.
iv) Using historical datasets to augment ‘omics data to understand ecological change over time.
The main conclusions of the report are that EMBRC partners need robust connections to public data resources, tools for data processing (hardware, storage, software), and data and analysis experts to keep track of the changing bioinformatics and analysis landscape.
D3.3 Plan for the requirements of the EMBRC e-infrastructure
This report provides the guiding principles for EMBRC e-infrastructure, explores possible models for the e-infrastructure and its functional activities, the hardware requirements, staff and services required, and the EMBRC e-infrastructure integration with other infrastructures and projects.
WP4
D4.3) EMBRC Infrastructure Roadmap Report
The EMBRC Roadmap Report is based on information presented in earlier Deliverables D4.1 and D4.2 and new information and data collected at EMBRC meetings and through on-site visits and communications with ppEMBRC partners between April 2012 and January 2013. D4.3 comprises an overview of the existing marine research infrastructure of ppEMBRC at the time of writing and an outline plan for the construction of new infrastructure from 2013 to 2016, which provides a starting point for the integrated multinational planning of marine research infrastructure construction. D4.3 is a ppEMBRC milestone and it provides the basis for the EMBRC Business Plan. It will serve as underlying document for the next phases beyond the preparatory phase mainly by informing (a) the financial and construction plans of future EMBRC (future EMBRC roadmaps) and (b) the EMBRC infrastructure database. D4.3 is a living document and it will be updated continuously through consultation of EMBRC partners of MoU signatories during the construction and operation phase.

WP5
D5.4) Specific legal issues “Scientific exploitation of marine bioresources”
WP5 did a comprehensive study on legal issues concerning the access and collection of marine resources, its use, transformation or manipulation, as well, as the supply (exchange, transport and sale). Consequently, WP5 recommended that a legal monitoring system based on the use of marine bio-resources should be implemented within the context of EMBRC, updating existing legal regimen of marine bio-resources. The legal monitoring system could be led either by the EMBRC legal officer with close collaboration of a “legal monitoring committee”. Another significant result of this report is the need to implement a reporting concerning any use or resources during the stay of EMBRC hosted researchers in each node.

D5.5) European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) Memorandum of Understanding
According to the objectives described in the DoW, the report presents the EMBRC Memorandum of Understanding - the legal framework during the implementation phase. During the preparatory phase, the partners studied several legal forms attending the structure of the project, its impacts and feasibility. Consequently, ppEMBRC considers the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) as the most suitable legal form for EMBRC and suggests establishing a European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). In order to accomplish this goal, the legal work package drafted the memorandum of understanding, a non-legally binding agreement between the countries who intend to coordinate their activities and work together towards the construction and operation of EMBRC. By signing the EMBRC MoU, the signatories materialize the intent to work together during the implementation phase and define a clear line of action from now on without, necessarily, forming a legally binding constraints.
D5.6) Report on options for governance models, decision-making process and legal framework for the future of EMBRC
As justified in the ppEMBRC 1st Progress Report, D5.6 compiles former deliverables 5.1 5.2 and 5.3 (Tasks 5.1 and 5.3). D5.6 was carried out by evaluating the responses of eleven EMBRC partners to a survey developed by WP5 (Legal Issues), regarding “Legal forms, constraints, governance & general questions”; presenting examples of governance models; comparing legal form for European research infrastructures and presenting a SWOT analysis of legal forms. Regarding the survey among pp EMBRC partners did not demonstrated objective legal constraints for the stations/Local Nodes to become a member of a legal entity. Setting aside exceptional case (e.g. EMBL), the willing of Stations/Local Nodes seems to be the only absolute constraint to join an independent legal entity. Consequently, the analysis of the existing legal forms performed by WP5 demonstrates that the European research infrastructure consortium is the most convenient legal form for the establishment and operation of EMBRC, because of its subsidiary model and distributed operation. The proposed EMBRC-ERIC will maintain a central hub, comprising a Director and a Secretariat. The user services will be performed on-site at EMBRC nodes in multiple locations and in different countries. Based on this decision, WP5 presented a governance structure scheme developed to incorporate the recommendations of the Assessment Expert Group (AEG) report and to show a stronger relationship between the EMBRC core and the nodes. The Blueprint for EMBRC governance structure was officially presented at ppEMBRC Open meeting in Banyuls-sur-mer in October 2013.

D5.7) Report on Specific legal issues – Part II Preliminary Considerations on EMBRC Intellectual Property Policy
D5.7 compiles the preliminary considerations on EMBRC Intellectual Policy. This report provides a complete overview of the main issues to consider for creating an intellectual property policy and to provide a consensus proposal of the criteria that can be implemented in the future phases. The intellectual property policy will link the legal, operational and economical aspects of EMBRC and will create a consolidated strategic tool for the management of these valuable assets.

D5.8) The Statutes of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre – European Research Infrastructure Consortium (EMBRC-ERIC Statutes)
Following the decision the EMBRC Steering Committee (SC) decision to apply for an ERIC, WP5 started the drafting of EMBRC-ERIC statutes because the ipEMBRC members should agree on the governance structure of the ERIC in the statutes. With objective of improving the comprehensibility of the legal form adopted, WP5 appointed the international legal firm Bird&Bird to carry out this work.
WP6
Significant results: WP6 finalised EMBRC cost model and estimated the capital and the revenue requirements for the implementation and operation phases of EMBRC, and analysed its financial sustainability based on the planned EMBRC-ERIC organisation and legal structure considering different scenarios of Member States contributions (depending on the number of countries to entering full membership), grants and other sources. These analyses are described in D6.2 and D6.4/5/6.

WP7
D7.5) Periodic reporting on deviations to risk protocols II:
WP7 team synthesized the information regarding deviations to risk protocols into a coherent risk management and QA/IA system for ppEMBRC (D7.2) which was submitted to the SC for adoption at month 24.

D7.6) Periodic reporting on deviations to risk protocols III:
WP7 team synthesized the information regarding deviations to risk protocols into a coherent risk management and QA/IA system for ppEMBRC (D7.2) which was submitted to the SC for adoption at month 32.

D7.7) Plan for risk management and QA&IA system for EMBRC construction and operation phases:
WP7 team synthesized a report (April 2013) providing details on risk assessment and QA/IA system for EMBRC, which was submitted to the SC for adoption at month 32.
The processes used for decision making was reviewed and responsibility definitions were established. Specific quality control procedures were identified and detailed. A series of SOP documents were produced to establish policies covering aspects related to health and safety, operational line management standards and data management.

WP8
D8.2) Forecast of HR requirements
After the identification by the Scientific Steering Committee of the positions required for the EMBRC ERIC secretariat, a job analysis was conducted. A questionnaire was elaborated and sent to persons holding similar positions in research centres. In order to get more information and clarification, structured interviews were also conducted. The information obtained from these two instruments, as well as from occupational databases and professional organization data sources, allowed a complete formal description of each position: Executive Director, Financial Manager, Programme Administrator, Knowledge Manager/Innovation Officer, Promotion, Communication, Marketing and Outreach Officer and Secretary. A draft of the job descriptions was sent out to every partner for suggestions and contributions. After having analysed the comments, D8.2 was delivered.

D8.3) Equal opportunities Plan (EOP)
D8.3 was the result of an extensive review of European and non-European best practices, projects, reports and legislation in the field of equal opportunities, diversity in the workplace, women and gender in science. EMBRC partners were also consulted and asked to provide their actions and results in this area. The output was 39 recommendations that comprise the EMBRC Equal Opportunities Plan. The proposal is expected to help the achievement of equal opportunities and fairness in EMBRC.

D8.5) Analysis of socio-economic impact of EMBRC
Each EMBRC node was asked to complete an online questionnaire, based on the FenRIAM framework . The objective of this questionnaire was to get data to understand how each node estimated the impact of the EMBRC implementation. This socio economic impact assessment questionnaire had a 73% rate of response. The data collected in the survey as well as from EMBRC sources, fed a financial and cost - benefit analysis study. It concluded that EMBRC is highly desirable from a Socio-economic point of view and will contribute to improve the welfare of the communities in the regions.

D8.6) Human Resources Plan (HRP)
The EMBRC Human Resources plan comprises:
• the EMBRC’s mission, vision, values, organogram, culture and ethics;
• the description of the conditions of employment, roles and responsibilities, personnel costs and the timescale for setting talent and skills;
• guidelines for the recruitment, selection, integration, performance, promotion, training, development, termination of contracts and succession, health and safety and equal opportunities within the EMBRC- ERIC.
The proposed best practices derive from EMBRC reports as well as publications from reference institutions from HR field.

WP9

D9.2) Report on stakeholder workshop
D9.2 gathers the resume of all meetings organised during ppEMBRC execution focusing the ppEMBRC different stakeholders. The meetings organised during the second reporting period are listed in Annex III.

D9.3) Alliances with other cognate infrastructure
This deliverable involved contacting representatives of ESFRI-RI projects, initiatives in Biological and medical Sciences and Environment for exploring areas of common interest for cooperation with EMBRC. A survey was undertaken using a cooperation scheme and the outcome provided a detailed overview of areas of potential cooperation with interested ESFRI´s. This cooperation scheme was also used to develop joint applications in the scope of H2020 calls (2014/2015).

D9.4) Short-list of potential new partners
WP9 has engaged with, visited and evaluated potential new partners of EMBRC (Aspiring partners), according the criteria for acceptance of new partners (D9.5) and of these approved the following as full new partners of ppEMBRC: BELGIUM (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee and University of Gent), DENMARK (Arktisk Station Disko; Greenland and Marine Biological Section Helsingoer - University of Copenhagen; Danish Shellfish Centre - Danish Technical University; Daneborg and Zackenberg Stations, East Greenland, and Marine Biology Station, Roenbjerg - University of Aarhus; and Marine Biological Research Centre - University of Southern Denmark), FINLAND (Tvärminne Zoological Station – University of Helsinki), ISRAEL (Interuniversity for Marine Sciences, Eilat), LITHUANIA (Coastal Research and Planning Institute - Klaipeda University), SPAIN (Marine Sciences Station of Toralla - University of Vigo; Plentzia Marine Station – University of the Basque Country), NEDERLANDS (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research). Potential new members of EMBRC of which there is an open communication: IRELAND (Irish Marine Institute, communicating with the Universities of Galway and Cork), MALTA (Malta Council for Science and Technology and the AquaBioTech Group), POLAND (Institute of Oceanology - Polish Academy of Sciences), RUSSIA (White Sea Biological Station “Nikolai Pertsov” of Biology faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University and White Sea Biological Station “Kartesh” of Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences) and TURKEY (Tübitak Marmara Research Center; the Environment Institute – Marine and Inland Water Unit).

D9.5) Criteria and process for integration of new partners into EMBRC
D9.5 criteria were used to establish ppEMBRC associate Partners.
WP10

D10.3) Outline for the preparation and submission of user proposals
WP10 evaluated the ASSEMBLE format for access proposals and their evaluation in terms of its suitability for EMBRC, and interviewed members of the ASSEMBLE User Selection Panel about their experiences with the evaluation process. Recommendations were formulated for the development of e-forms and procedures for access proposal preparation, submission and evaluation.

D10.4) Political, diplomatic and security issues of operating in remote areas
WP10 evaluated the possibility to access sites that are of special interest for EMBRC but present particular access difficulties within the scope of EMBRC and by means of infrastructures owned by EMBRC partners (and offered to EMBRC). These sites are polar regions, deep-sea sites (2000m+), tropical reefs and test sites, impacted sites as well as artificial reefs. EMBRC potentially can provide users with access to all these habitats through ppEMBRC partners and associated partners, with research platforms owned by EMBRC partners.
• Polar environments can be accessed through ppEMBRC partners’ own infrastructures, however, often collaborations with other national institutes or research programmes is needed. Logistical and access costs are both high. Therefore, a regular access provision for EMBRC users is not seen as feasible. The Associate Partner Denmark runs a polar station on Greenland that is usable the whole year and easier accessible than what can be offered by current ppEMBRC partners.
• HCMR and OOV can offer access to nearby deep-sea environments. In addition, SAMS can provide access to databases relating to its long history of work in the deep-sea.
• Cold-water reefs and artificial reefs are accessible through current ppEMBRC partners. The associate partner Israel offers easy access to tropical coral reefs.
• All ppEMBRC partners can offer access to anthropogenic structured or impacted sites, although they are currently not listed as accessible sites.
Provision of access to as broad a variety of marine environments and ecosystems as possible must be balanced with logistics efforts and costs. Therefore, WP 10 recommended establishing cooperation agreements with other ESFRI projects, mainly to facilitate access to a variety of polar regions and deep-sea sites and to avoid duplication of services.

D10.5) Scenarios for mutual use of infrastructures with other ESFRIs
WP 10 evaluated, discussed and described possibilities for EMBRC to cooperate with EMBRC-external access providers in respect to user access to facilities and services. Discussions with representatives of EMBRC-external access providers took mainly place during a 3-day workshop organised by ppEMBRC in Crete in May 2013. WP 10 saw advantages for EMBRC and its users in cooperating with access providers external to EMBRC. This interest in collaboration with the aim of harmonising access procedures and mutualising user access to research infrastructures is shared by different European access providers. WP 10 recommended focusing collaborative efforts on sharing access protocols, enabling the transfer of users or access applications between RIs, enabling co-applications, and synchronising access calls. A workshop should be organised in the beginning of the implementation phase specifically aimed at mutualising access and harmonising procedures between EMBRC and other interested access providers.

D10.7) Procedures for the establishment of a User Forum
A Reference User Group of Stakeholders (RUG) was established (see 1st progress report and D10.6) and the performance evaluated. WP 10 prepared a proposal on how to implement such an advisory body for the implementation and operational phase of EMBRC. The proposal influenced the setting up of the business plan and the ERIC statutes.
The executive director of EMBRC and the Governing Board will be advised by a set of advising bodies, including a User Forum consisting of representatives of the EMBRC user community (academia, local node resident researchers, industry, etc.).

Currently it is foreseen that:
The User Forum will give advice and feedback on services and service provision. The EMBRC-ERIC Governing Board will define the terms of reference of the User Forum.
The User Forum will be composed of an odd number of independent experts, of whom one shall be appointed chair. The Governing Board shall establish the number of members, which may be varied from time to time. The duration of the term of the appointment of the members will be two years, and may be renewed twice consecutively for the same period of time. If any member seeks further re-appointment then such re-appointment shall be subject to ratification by the Governing Board.
The initial members of the User Forum will be appointed by the Governing Board. After the initial appointment of the members of the User Forum, the appointment of new members will be made by the Governing Board, based on a list of candidates prepared by the User Forum itself.
The User Forum meets whenever necessary and, at least, once per year. The Governing Board or the Director may ask the chair of the Advisory Body to convene the members of the Advisory Body to request them to consider and make recommendations on issues that it needs to resolve.
The decisions of the User Forum are to be passed by the simple majority of the votes of the members attending the meeting.
The Director is entitled to attend all meetings of the User Forum as an observer.
Members of the EMBRC-ERIC may, where invited, attend meetings of the User Forum as observers.
The secretariat evaluates the performance of the User Forum at a regular two-year basis and present recommendations to the Governing Board to improve the interaction and functioning of this advisory body.

WP11
D11.1) ppEMBRC website
The ppEMBRC website (launched in August 2011) as well as EMBRC accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn are systematically updated with information regarding events, internal and external outputs, announcements, news, job offers and articles. During the second reporting period ppEMBRC website had a total of 9 534 visits (6 869 unique users), with an average time/visit of 02:36 min. Visitors came mostly from France (14.0 %), UK (9.6 %), USA (7.6 %), Italy (5.7 %) and Sweden (5.6 %). EMBRC Facebook account has 62 followers and EMBRC LinkedIn account has 530 followers.

D11.5) ppEMBRC newsletter IV
ppEMBRC newsletter IV was published in January 2013.

D11.6) ppEMBRC newsletter V
ppEMBRC newsletter V, initially planned on September 2013, was published in January 2014. It provides a review of the latest activities and events. Featured items include the Status of EMBRC Memorandum of Understanding, the ppEMBRC Business plan and the EMBRC Open meeting in Banyuls-sur-Mer. An update on relevant findings in marine research is also provided.

D11.8) Plans for dissemination and outreach tools and actions
The dissemination plan is a living document whose main objectives are to identify and organise the activities to be performed in order to build a joint infrastructure through EMBRC nodes. After identifying the main risks, a tailored strategy has been set up with internal and external communication tools. This network will need to be managed to maintain a dynamic link between the nodes and lead to more opportunities. To prepare this document, an inventory of existing outreach activities at each of the ppEMBRC partners has been conducted and innovative and attractive instruments for communication and outreach have been reviewed. A workshop has been convened in October 2013 in order to assess options for actions to be implemented in the future EMBRC. Recommendations from this workshop have been fed into the report. Based on these elements, the experience gained during ppEMBRC and after external advices from experts (AquaTT), the WP11 team has formulated a proposal (D11.8) concerning EMBRC dissemination tools, public relations and outreach. D11.8 was delivered in December 2013.

D11.9) EMBRC education plan
D11.9 identifies what kind of training & education is available among the ppEMBRC partners and across the EU and what are the current and future trend and training needs in marine sciences in the EU. This report provides some recommendations to minimize training gaps.

D11.10) Plans for digital library
The main objectives were to identify the available resources in order to build an accessible online portal for library resources. An important objective is to plan for digitalization of information in old books and monographs, which are rare and/or no longer easily accessible to the wider community. After identifying the existing library resources (on-site and remote) at ppEMBRC partner institutes through a questionnaire, some recommendations have been made for their integration and development. This digital library will be continuously updated and lead to more accessible online resources and services.

Potential Impact:
Impact of ppEMBRC

Introduction

The preparatory phase of EMBRC layed out the technical, legal and financial characteristics of the European Marine Biological Resource Center (EMBRC). It was concluded that EMBRC will consist of an inter-governmental infrastructure, reuniting the main marine genomics laboratories in Europe, which have the capacity to provide both access to marine organisms and modern technology such as ‘omics’ platforms, as follows.

The services provided by the EMBRC nodes will be access to:
- Marine ecosystems, including associated historical time-series data;
- Marine model organisms for evolutionary and developmental biology, ecosystem functioning, gene discovery, molecular farming, biogeochemistry…;
- Logistics for ex-situ maintenance and experiments, including wet labs and up-to-date equipment for biological research including “omics”, imaging and sensors.
- Rare and unique facilities for specialist research purposes, e.g. bioreactors, mesocosms, marine mammal holding tanks, greenhouses …;
- Logistics for hosting and catering.

The services organized by the EMBRC core will consist of:
- Organisation and funding of Transnational Access
- Joint development of Key Enabling Technologies (within EMBRC and in collaboration with the users);
- Training and education in marine biological sciences & technology;
- Construction of e-infrastructure and linking to sister pan-European RIs;
- Knowledge transfer to industry and policy-makers;
- International relationships with maritime countries in science, education and innovation;
- Legal clearance for access to marine biodiversity;
- Science mediation in marine biological sciences.

ppEMBRC is rooted in the Networks of Excellence Marine Genomics Europe and Marbef as well as in the ongoing Integrated Infrastructure Initiative program referred to as ASSEMBLE. In defining a new instrument that would best service the community of marine biologists and ecologists in Europe ppEMBRC continued the efforts of these former projects in defragmenting this community. Obviously, however, the main impact of ppEMBRC will be to facilitate the construction of the infrastructure itself. Hence we here analyse the impacts which will be provided by EMBRC when it is in its operational phase.

These impacts can be described in general terms, including both the scientific and socio-economic impacts. They also can be analysed from the point of view of the added value to EMBRC stakeholders, at various scales including regional, national and European.


1. General impact of EMBRC

1.1 Scientific impact
EMBRC will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and raise scientific standards through mobility, access to the latest facilities, marine biota and ecosystems, and advanced training. In particular, EMBRC will represent a delivery mechanism for EuroMarine+, a bottom-up organisation formed by the consolidation of the three former FP6 Marine Networks of Excellence MarBEF, EUR-OCEANS and Marine Genomics Europe that is contributing to setting the research agenda in marine sciences in Europe from 2013 (Boyen et al., 2012) . In particular, EMBRC will support the research strategy priorities of Euromarine+, which include (1) enhancing the understanding of marine ecosystem functioning for healthy future oceans, (2) developing scenarios for changing oceans, e.g. through improvement of ecological models, and (3) unlocking the potential of the marine realm for new concepts and as drivers for innovation and technology.

Through EMBRC`s involvement with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory/European Bioinformatics Institute and close collaboration with ELIXIR and other BMS RIs, EMBRC will facilitate the development of new model organisms fully supported by genomic and other molecular resources. Such models have the potential to accelerate scientific progress in biomedical research and the basic biosciences.

EMBRC will provide key scientific services and infrastructure support for the Blue Growth Agenda . This agenda highlights five cross-cutting priority sectors including (1) blue energy, (2) aquaculture, (3) maritime, coastal and cruise tourism (linked to clean/pristine environment), (4) marine mineral resources, and (5) blue biotechnology.


1. 2. Links with other instruments in the European Research Area
EMBRC will interface with and provide the essential research infrastructure for relevant Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs), namely JPI OCEANS (for marine research coordination between national funding agencies), FACCE JPI (agriculture, food security and climate change research), JPIAMR (research of antimicrobial resistance) and JPI CLIMATE. EMBRC will also support the ERA-NETs related to these JPIs. ERA-NETs already active for the marine sector include SEAS-ERA (marine sector coordination of RTD), AMPERA (coordination action to foster prevention and best response to accidental marine pollution), BiodivERsA (networking European biodiversity research), and MarineBiotech (European research network for marine biotechnology research and development).

EMBRC will provide a mutually beneficial single point of contact between a diverse marine biological science community and other bodies including the European Union, national and regional governments, trade organisations, maritime and blue biotech clusters and individual companies. The RI will provide the scientific services and infrastructure to meet several of the “Grand Scientific & Technological Challenges” identified by the European Commission, including human health and the ageing population (through new drugs from the sea), self-sufficiency in energy supplies (e.g. biofuels from micro- and macro-algae and bacteria), food security (sustainable aquaculture) and climate change (understanding impacts of, adaptations to and mitigation against effects of ocean warming, ocean acidification, circulation changes and nutrient availability).


1.3. Socio-economic impact
Marine waters provide resources and services estimated at 60% of the total economic value of the biosphere, and with the increasing demand for marine products and the emergence of novel usages of marine species (e.g. for marine renewable energy), marine life is becoming a new frontier in the bioeconomy of our territories).

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has placed strong emphasis on the fact that biological resource centres (BRCs) are an essential part of the infrastructure requirements for the development of bioresources . In a recent report focused on the contribution of marine biotechnology to economic and social prosperity, the importance of Research Infrastructure for generating and sharing knowledge was again stressed. As the main BRC devoted to access to marine bioresources, EMBRC will rapidly gain a high profile among users from the private sector. The EMBRC community covers the whole range of marine biodiversity, using science approaches as diverse as molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, chemical biology, biophysics, genomics, bioinformatics, biomathematics, integrative biology, reproductive biology, animal and plant breeding, population genetics and host-pathogen relationships. Application sectors range from gene and cell engineering (molecular farming, cell factories), bio-refineries, biostatistics, software development, biosensors, nutrition, medicine and health care, aquaculture, crop disease control and environmental management and remediation, to bioenergy and biomaterials.

By grouping such a comprehensive body of experimental systems (microbes, algae, animals) as well as research excellence in marine biology and ecology, EMBRC will improve the efficiency of characterisation and sustainable exploration of marine diversity. It will also provide a comprehensive platform connecting marine biological researchers and industry. For every sector in the marine knowledge-based bio-economy, companies will be able to quickly explore the entire EMBRC community and access the available knowledge in EMBRC that is relevant for their innovation targets, safeguarding all intellectual property rights. This will attract companies that have not previously considered the use of marine resources to expand their businesses. Also, the combination in EMBRC of competencies in both biology and ecology will provide industrial leaders with unique opportunities to contribute to the welfare of mankind in a sustainable and environmentally compatible manner.

The Infrastructure hence will be essential in underpinning the economic development of a very large spectrum of marine knowledge and bio-resources. In particular EMBRC will be instrumental in developing the key domain of blue biotechnology, i.e. the application of biotechnology tools to marine resources. In this domain, however, there is still a lack of understanding of the potential applications of marine genomics techniques. At the policy-making level the separation between “blue-sky” marine biology and applied research for industrial sectors is not completely bridged. Efficient knowledge transfer in European research institutions is also hindered by a range of factors, including: cultural differences between the business and science communities; lack of incentives for public researchers; legal barriers; and fragmented markets for knowledge and technology .

This issue is important given the speed at which developments are taking place in marine biology. In this context, one specific aim of EMBRC will be to unlock the knowledge potential from EU marine genomics research activities, by developing a permanent body of knowledge transfer activities and tools. Knowledge will be discharged through direct knowledge transfer, dissemination and training, thereby encouraging and accelerating knowledge application and exploitation . This endeavour will markedly accelerate technology transfer in marine biology and ecology, servicing both the fundamental and industrial research communities.

EMBRC will act as a centre for knowledge transfer and as a core technology infrastructure for industry, fostering modernisation, innovation and increased productivity. Most EMBRC marine stations are integrated or in close connection with science parks and business clusters and interact with a number of private sector companies. EMBRC will provide the framework and national/international dimension to significantly enhance interactions between science and industry, notably in the key domains of marine resource management and conservation, aquaculture and blue biotechnology. EMBRC will develop a common platform for knowledge transfer that can reach out to both scientists and governmental and industrial decision-makers.



2. Added value for EMBRC stakeholders

2. 1. EMBRC nodes
In the pre-implementation phase, EMBRC nodes mainly rely on such income streams as: direct, regular funding from the node operators, specific regional or national grants, access fees from internal research, facility rentals, government or private contract research funding, commercial funding (consultancy and licensing of IPR), donations, competitive calls from the EU…. Joining EMBRC will bring additional sources of funding, including user fees from EMBRC selected projects, and grant re-allocation via the EMBRC central core, e. g., for Joint Development Activities, training of staff and users, knowledge transfer…. This will result in a larger use of the RI guaranteed in the forthcoming years, the costs of RI partially supported by external researchers. More generally, the added value for marine genomics laboratories of joining EMBRC will include: higher visibility and attractiveness, a much larger user community, including from industry and policy makers, expansion of research and training collaboration. The arrival of new users would result in more opportunities for research collaboration widening the overall use of the infrastructure, thus of its scope, of its usefulness and its legitimacy.

Even more importantly, inclusion in a pan-European RI would bring, to every EMBRC node, more comprehensive science coverage (in terms of ecosystems, lineages, bio-resources), more permanency and efficiency to develop key enabling technologies, as well as higher political leverage with regions, governments and the EU (see below). All of this would be major consolidations of their missions in research, higher education and innovation. It would help them to meet the strategic priorities ant the national and regional levels and to contribute to national and regional economy, widening their scope and legitimacy.


2.2. EMBRC regions
Most EMBRC nodes are situated in geographical locations well away from major concentrations of industry, with declining fisheries industries and with unemployment rates above the European average.

In this context, EMBRC will act as a catalyst for job creation. Direct jobs will be created during the implementation and operation phases, a proportion of which will be highly skilled and well paid. Indirect jobs will also be created to service the infrastructure and as a result of increased scientific and economic activity. EMBRC will contribute to the creation of spin-off and start-up companies in areas related to technology development, exploitation of marine bio-resources and protection of biodiversity. This will increase economic activity and will help diversify the economy in the regions.

EMBRC will also bring higher visibility and increased interregional and international cooperation. While macroeconomic conditions in some countries can constitute an obstacle to implementation of EMBRC, the level of economic development of these regions can facilitate funding of infrastructure. The international use of the infrastructure and the high mobility of researchers of EMBRC marine stations and laboratories will result in higher visibility and will act as a catalyst to attract companies and investment to the regions promoting their development. EMBRC will also act as a focal point of knowledge, innovation and exchange of information for SMEs that will benefit in particular the less developed regions, reducing inequalities, promoting employment and increasing European societal cohesion.

These opportunities were put forward in a meeting organized by the Commission and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, where EMBRC was chosen as a case study to explore the potential role of regions in the development of European RIs, and reciprocally (March 29th, 2012). EMBRC was recognized as a major tool for the “smart specialization” of the maritime regions, with the advantages to the maritime regions of hosting EMBRC being acceleration of knowledge development to the benefit of regional industry.


2. 3. EMBRC countries
The general impacts of ESFRI Research Infrastructures are: to provide cutting-edge technology platforms for academia and industry; to reduce fragmentation and promote efficiency through benchmarking and harmonization to provide top-level education and training to researchers and staff; to deliver synergies and highly interoperable research processes, to enable researchers to find new solutions to meet major societal challenges, to rapidly translate findings from basic science to new applications; and to attract and retain world-leading scientists.

In most European countries, marine stations had remained a somewhat loose network, often with no sustained collaborations or common strategy. The added value of EMBRC at the national level will first consist in increasing the efficiency of its major national marine laboratories, with a better coordination of investments. It will also be instrumental in attracting the best international scientists on their territory and fostering international scientific collaborations.

National governments, funding agencies and research operators recognize that this will result in more foresight for strategic priorities and global development as well as better networking and building of critical mass and competitiveness, leading to more industrial leadership and innovation in SMEs. Another added value will be the opportunity to debate with the other EMBRC countries on how to provide the best European facilities to serve marine research on biology / biodiversity (and thus its future) and beyond.


2.4. Europe
Compared to ASSEMBLE, EMBRC will be would add three major dimensions:
- it will be more comprehensive in its partnership (at least in the long term);
- it will have more permanency;
- it will have more leverage.

A more comprehensive partnership will result a more complete coverage of ecosystems, biological resources and lineages (aiming at encompassing the whole of Europe regional seas and of the whole tree of marine life). The completeness brought by EMBRC would open more largely the access to European marine biodiversity and it would accelerate the speed of discovery in life sciences and the application of these discoveries, hence promoting the bio-based blue economy. This would also bring a high bonus in many areas of the European environmental policy, including, for example, the refinement of ecosystems monitoring (cf the « genomics observatories » for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive).

More sustainability will bring a much higher responsibility and efficiency in technological development. With the objective of developing a top-level, world class infrastructure EMBRC national members will soon be responsible for carrying out the development of Key Enabling Technologies in the area of marine biology and ecology. Even though this duty differs from actual science programming, it would have a very high scientific impact on marine sciences, for the benefit of the whole EMBRC community. As the hardware needed for the achievement of the objectives of its users community, EMBRC will rapidly become an efficient tool for research programming.

Finally, the support of maritime regional and national governments will give EMBRC a much higher political leverage. As the only marine RI in biological and medical sciences as well as the only RI in biology for marine sciences, EMBRC will rapidly become a focal point in the implementation of the regional (eg., the smart specialisation strategy), national (eg., the JPI Oceans) and European policy (Horizon 2020, cohesion policy) in marine biology and ecology. Since the implementation of these policies will largely depend on access to EMBRC nodes, the Infrastructure would rapidly become a privileged interlocutor to a variety of European networks, such as the JPI Oceans and Euromarine+.


2.4. Meeting the needs for global positioning
Marine biology and the exploitation of marine resources is a growing strategic issue world-wide, in particular for fast-developing economic powers such as China, Brazil, India, as well as for established blocks such as USA, Canada and Japan. Individual marine stations in Europe already are confronted to strong, yet rapidly international competition in scientific research, higher education and innovation in marine biology and ecology.

Internationalisation issues in these areas today are handled individually by the marine stations and their operators, resulting in a variety of multiple, non-concerted initiatives. In the long term, this sub-optimal strategy will not be sufficient, as the established or developing economies in Asia and America increase their level of scientific excellence and infrastructure quality in marine biology.

In particular, there is no unified body for international negotiations on such question as access right to marine biodiversity and genetic resources. This may lead to the impossibility to preserve the IP rights and interests of European marine stations. It is clear also that even though individual marine stations in Europe do benefit from a scientific and technical know-how leadership today, this leadership is not secured forever and it is time to share common interests to preserve this advance at European level.

EMBRC will specifically address these needs by:
- raising the level of investment in infrastructure and human capital, so that to offer the best level service quality, with the aim of attracting the best grant holders within Europe and from third countries;
- contributing to the coherence and cohesion of the research policies in marine biology across Europe, resulting in a higher and better integrated critical mass at the infrastructure level with a common understanding of strategic orientations;
- providing a clearly identified voice which will defend the strategic, long-term interests of European marine stations. A first mandate to EMBRC could be to secure the legal clearance or protection of access to marine biodiversity in Europe as well as international waters.

Conclusion

In conclusion methodology and information for exploiting the potential of marine bio-resources are sufficiently mature for direct application to achieve a more competitive European economy, and the generation of knowledge economies in the marine sector. Applications for Blue Growth include improving the efficiency of characterisation and mining of marine diversity for biotechnology products and processes that will contribute to the welfare of mankind in a sustainable and environmentally compatible manner. Marine genomics knowledge also has enormous potential to assist organizations involved in governance and sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources.

As an infrastructure comprehensively distributed along the European coastline EMBRC will promote excellent science, capacity building and knowledge transfer throughout the regional, national and European scales. Based on the current and expected economic performance indicators of ppEMBRC partnership, a detailed analysis was performed at both the regional and national levels to estimate the added value of the establishing EMBRC (see Deliverable 8.5). Given the capacity of EMBRC partners to take full advantage of networking and to contribute to the diversification of coastal regional economies, it was concluded that the Economic Net Present Value of the project is positive. It means that establishing EMBRC will be profitable from the society point of view and should be granted public financial support.

For those regions which are harbouring a potential EMBRC node, the added value of joining EMBRC will include higher benchmarking stringency, hence increased funding efficiency, higher visibility and attractiveness, increased inter-regional and inter-national cooperation, including with non - European regions (decentralized cooperation). All of this would be significant consolidations for the « smart specialization » of the economy of maritime regions.

At the national level, EMBRC clearly already has provided a strong stimulus for marine laboratories in several Member States and Third Countries to de-fragment in order to be able to join their national RI roadmaps. Integration into a wider infrastructure will result in even higher incentive for alignment with regional, national and European policies as well as for international cooperation. This will further increase their scientific merit as well as their strategic relevance while higher openness towards the EMBRC user community will improve their international profile and relevance.

At the EU level, the Commission will be able to discuss with a legally constituted, representative body of the national forces and interests in this area of marine sciences. EMBRC would be rapidly able to claim both representativeness and leadership at the EU level, and evolution which will serve well the attractiveness of Europe world-wide as well as its global positioning in both fundamental and strategic research and higher education in marine biology and ecology. An important issue here is the regulation of access to marine biodiversity, a question that should be mutualised in EMBRC since it is relevant to Europe as a whole.

Hence, variety of public and /or private partnerships (regional, national, European or international) will use EMBRC as a key partner and EMBRC will develop into a unique Research Infrastructure, capable of servicing stakeholders’ policies at all scales. Altogether, the infrastructure will become a focal point where regional, national and European policies in marine biology and ecology will (e.g. JPI Oceans) will converge. This will provide an excellent opportunity to synergistically align the Research and Innovation as well as the Cohesion policies of Europe in the domain of marine bio-resources.

List of Websites:

www.embrc.eu
info@embrc.eu