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Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for 21st Century

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IS_MIRRI21 (Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for 21st Century)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-02-01 do 2021-07-31

The project ISMIRRI_21 aims to implement and to secure the long-term sustainability of the pan‑European Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI), so it entirely fulfils its role on creating innovation and societal value through the preservation, study, provision and valorisation of microbial resources and biodiversity.
Microbes are essential for life on Earth. Also, they have historically been used by humankind for its benefit (e.g. in food processing and preservation) and, in today’s world, microbial resources are an invaluable asset for bioindustries and the bioeconomy. Microbes are the source of or are used for the production of: sustainable, nutritious and safe food and feed products; innovative medicines and therapeutic solutions, such as vaccines and antibiotics; renewable, biobased chemicals and materials, including biopesticides and biofertilizers that are safe, effective alternatives to harmful chemical substances, as well as clean, advanced biofuels. Microbes are used in the biological management of agricultural soils and crops, in processing and upgrading residues, side-streams and organic wastes, and in the bioremediation of polluted sites or contaminated effluents. Microbes play a key role in the functioning of ecosystems, contributing to healthy and fertile soils, to clean water, and to the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
The preservation and provision of microbial resources for research, biotechnological and bioindustrial purposes greatly relies on microbial domain Biological Resource Centres (mBRCs) and culture collections (CCs), which are therefore an essential part of the infrastructure underpinning biotechnology and the bioeconomy. MIRRI brings together 50+ of these top-level mBRCs, CCs and research institutes, from 11 countries.
IS_MIRRI21 will support the full implementation and operation of MIRRI as a distributed, centrally coordinated Research Infrastructure, with all partner organisations working under a common strategic research and innovation agenda, as well as standardised, high-quality operation rules and procedures. This will greatly facilitate the access by researchers, companies and other users to the broadest, most diverse portfolio of high-quality microbial resources and associated data, services, expertise, education and training, all through a single entry point.
IS_MIRRI21 will set up a centralized, user-friendly webportal – Collaborative Work Environment (CWE), www.mirri.org – to integrate and make accessible the entire MIRRI offer. The ever-increasing knowledge will be transferred to users via “Expert Clusters”, covering topics such as legal/regulatory issues, applications in biotechnologies/bioindustries, etc. ISMIRRI_21 will promote cross-disciplinary and Industry-Academia research collaboration through a transnational access (TNA) programme. Society will also directly benefit from ISMIRRI_21, which seeks to raise citizens’ awareness on the benefits of microbes and microbial collections for the bioeconomy and society. Schools and students, in particular, will benefit from educational events and materials.
To deliver the most value from MIRRI’s operation to its users/stakeholders, while assuring its long-term sustainability, a tailor-made business plan will be established, with proper attention given to enlargement of the membership/partnership to further countries/organisations.
IS_MIRRI21 will be key to implement MIRRI as an European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), as well as to position it in the European Research Area (ERA) and, in particular, in the ESFRI Roadmap, where its position in the “Health & Food” domain and the connections with other domains will be further strengthened
Some of the main activities/results of IS_MIRRI21are listed below:
STRATEGY
Research & Innovation
- MIRRI’s Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda 2021-2030
- Support to policy making: participation in Strategy Groups and public consultations
Intelligence & Business Development
- Business model + Business plan
- User survey (ongoing)
- Study “Microbial resources for an innovative, competitive and resilient bioeconomy” (ongoing)
- Strategic plan “Broadening MIRRI’s partnership with the private sector” (ongoing)
ACCESS
Resources, Data & Services
- CWE/Gates 2-3: catalogues of microbial resources and services/workflows
- Expert Clusters to provide consultancy (ongoing)
- TNA calls: 1st concluded, 2nd in preparation
Education & Training
- CWE/Gate 4: promoting training & education courses
- Videos to promote literacy in microbial-related topics (ongoing)
- European Specialization Course on Microbial Resource Centres, to be delivered in 2021-2022
OPERATION
Operations & Quality
- Staff for Management Backoffice hired; policies and rules of operation in place / in progress; new HQ offices ready in 2021
- Application of MIRRI to ERIC status
- MIRRI agreement on transnational field collection, and common procedures and standards for strain characterisation
OUTREACH
Partnerships & Enlargement
- Contacts with potential new Members / Observers / Partner Organisations
- Brokerage events for partnerships under HEU
- Application to 4 HEU calls
Branding & Communication
- Outreach and Dissemination Strategy
- CWE/Gate 1: MIRRI webportal
- Social media: LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Communication materials: Institutional presentation, brochures, newsletters, videos, infographics, etc.
- Organization of promotional events and participation in external events.
The offer of microbial resources tends to be dispersed and no single country can offer a complete coverage of microbial diversity and associated services, which makes the case for an overarching organisation to make best use of current capacity and address the needs of biotechnology and bioeconomy.
IS_MIRRI21 will be key for the full implementation, operation and sustainability of MIRRI as a pan-European distributed Research Infrastructure providing access to high-quality microorganisms, their derivatives, standardised associated data and services.
For each Member country, MIRRI will enable them to coordinate and mutualise a comprehensive set of resources/services for the benefit of the ERA and its scientific community. MIRRI will stimulate the scientific and technological development of European regions, boost the competitiveness of product/service development in the different areas of biotechnology and will act as a catalyst for investment and job creation.
For mBRCs, CCs or research institutes, the participation in MIRRI brings benefits such as: become more competitive and provide improved harmonised services; improve sustainability, enlarge holdings in a coordinated manner; improve the standardised data offer; increase the access to their capacities taking advantage of the higher profile conferred by the MIRRI brand.
For researchers and companies, they will find in MIRRI the right partner for delivering the maximum value from their projects, technologies or products, thus moving forward research and innovation in the fields of Health & Food, Agro-Food and Environment & Energy.
Overall, IS_MIRRI21 will capacitate MIRRI to become an ever-more active player on research and innovation, thus contributing to deliver the impacts of several SDGs, as well as European frameworks, such as HEU, its clusters, missions and partnerships.
ISMIRRI21 Collaborative Working Environment CWE
Partners and MIRRI Headquarters at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal
MIRRI's Institutional Profile
Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda of MIRRI