MIRRI will be a pan-European distributed RI providing microbiological services, thus facilitating access to high quality microorganisms, their derivatives and associated data for research, development and application. It will connect resource holders with researchers and policy makers to deliver the resources and services more effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of innovation in biotechnology. The RI builds upon 60 microbial domain resource centres (BRCs) in 26 European countries; collectively they provide access to more than 350,000 strains of microorganisms.
Microorganisms provide essential raw material for biotechnology - but to date less than 1% of the estimated number of species are described and available to be harnessed by man. As new species are discovered, expertise is difficult to locate to ensure correct identification. Public sequence databases provide modern tools for identification but the information is often of poor quality and often not backed up by the biological material to enable validation of data. The current fragmented resource distributed across Europe needs to be coordinated and operated to common standards with facilitating policy to help focus activities to the big challenges in healthcare, food security, poverty alleviation and climate change.
Lacking infrastructure, policy framework and governance structures will be defined in the preparatory phase, as will be the links to researchers and policy makers. Specialist clusters will address priority issues and output steering. BRCs should be placed on national road maps, ensuring the pan-European strategy can be implemented. Cross discipline interactions with other RIs will lead to new approaches. Linking the microbial strain information to other relevant data will allow their full exploitation. Appropriate data mining solutions will enable focussing acquisition and delivery strategies, thus bridging current gaps and improving user access.
Fields of science
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