Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Global BioImaging (Global BioImaging Project - International imaging infrastructure services for the life science community)
Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-11-30
Recognizing that these challenges are universal rather than restricted by geographical boundaries, the Global BioImaging (GBI) project has enabled imaging facility operators and technical staff, scientists, managers and science policy officers from around the globe, to join forces and tackle them together.
The GBI project was initiated by Euro-BioImaging (EuBI) – the pan-European research infrastructure for imaging technologies in biological and biomedical sciences on the ESFRI Roadmap – and facilitated the development of a global network of imaging research infrastructures and communities in Europe, Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa and the USA. Having started in December 2015 with a collaboration between EuBI, Australia and India, the network has grown to include 10 partners within a 3 year period. Furthermore, the partners have succeeded in ensuring that the activities initiated by the project will be sustained beyond the duration of the H2020 award. GBI has enabled EuBI and its international partners to not only network but also engage in concrete services, such as staff exchange programs, training courses and virtual platforms for training in imaging technologies and image data tools. Via GBI, researchers, imaging facility managers and technicians around the world have the opportunity to exchange experiences and best practice on all topics related to imaging infrastructure operation.
To facilitate networking and the exchange of best practices amongst international imaging infrastructures, community building was essential. Bilateral interactions between the different partners were possible during the various GBI events (meetings, workshops, training courses) and were further strengthened during the annual “Exchange of Experience” workshops, where the international GBI community came together and discussed key topics such as training, data and open access. These interactions led to the publication of 4 international recommendations on: “Open user access in imaging facilities”; “Quality assurance and management in open access imaging infrastructures”; “Training courses for facility staff”; and “Image data standards and open access repositories” (see https://www.globalbioimaging.org/documents).
The training needs of the international imaging community at large were identified and allowed the partners to design and deliver 5 international training courses for imaging core facility staff on the topics “Facility management and operation” and “Image data”. All training courses were very positively received by the scientific community as they addressed the need for an educational program to train facility staff.
Online e-learning tools on technologies and image data software were also developed in the framework of widening the training portfolio available to the imaging scientist. Thanks to a collaboration between EuBI and Microscopy Australia, a new module on Super-Resolution Microscopy was published on the Australian platform “MyScope”. A common virtual platform for image data software tools – called Image Tool Resource – was also prepared in collaboration with two complementary projects, namely EuBI PPII and NEUBIAS COST Action. Both platforms have been designed with the goal of satisfying the need of the imaging community worldwide: to provide them with publicly available, on-line web-accessible resources for day-to-day use.
Finally, Global BioImaging launched and managed 3 rounds of job shadowing (staff exchange program), allowing facility staff to travel internationally to partner imaging infrastructures, learn from their peers and share with them different approaches to solve common problems. The program enjoyed such a great success that it will continue beyond the duration of the H2020 grant award.
The benefits these activities brought to the international imaging community led to the recognition of the positive impact international cooperation has on a scientist’s life. In practical terms, they led to the signature of 4 collaboration agreements between EuBI on one side and Microscopy Australia, Australia’s National Imaging Facility, India-BioImaging and Japan’s Advanced BioImaging Support on the other. Further agreements are in the pipeline and at different stages of preparation.
With reference to socio-economic impact the project’s potential is relevant to society at large. Imaging technologies are increasingly key in the fight against cancer, infectious diseases, genetic disorders, ultimately improving our health across longer life-spans. As imaging technologies become more powerful, they will allow researchers to tackle grand societal challenges in health and aging. Another example is the role imaging science will have in helping us adapt to climate change by providing insights into plant biology and our planet’s marine ecosystem; tackling food security issues and understanding how to increase crop yields in extreme conditions. By linking imaging communities and infrastructures worldwide, Global BioImaging allows the scientific community to address these challenges with greater speed and efficacy, ultimately advancing knowledge and progress.