Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


EMBRIC Report Summary

Project ID: 654008
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EMBRIC (European Marine Biological Research Infrastructure Cluster to promote the Blue Bioeconomy)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Marine biotechnology is gaining a growing importance in the global biotechnology sector for at least two reasons. First, it can offer promising, innovative solutions to most challenges that mankind must face today and in the near future. Second, growing demands for bioproducts cannot be satisfied from terrestrial sources alone. However, the high economic potential of marine biotechnologies remains underexploited because of:
• Operational issues hindering the full exploration and exploitation of marine biological resources.
• Practical and cultural difficulties in connecting science with industry.
• High fragmentation of regional innovation ecosystems in marine biotechnology throughout Europe.
The European Marine Biological Research Infrastructure Cluster (EMBRIC) brings together several European Research Infrastructures (RIs) in a collaborative initiative, which aims to facilitate translational marine science and remove existing bottlenecks which are currently impeding blue innovation.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Summary of exploitable results and work in progress:

• Communication tools have been set up and are available: EMBRIC internal bulletin, EMBRIC website, EMBRIC social networks, EMBRIC communication supports (video, flyers, brochures)
• Several workshops have been organized in order to:
o work towards the improvement and standardization of methods for culturing, quality control and shipment of live organisms (micro and macroorganisms)
o support data management of the EMBRIC case studies regarding contextual data reporting and computational needs of the case study workflows
o promote the development of biological resources for the selective breeding of shellfish and finfish
o share Tech Transfer Practices to boost the marine bioeconomy
• Characterization of novel marine proteins with potential biotechnological applications.
• The EMBRIC Configurator service, which provides an entry point into the complex landscape of existing informatics resources, especially around molecular biology data, has been released.
• Progress has been made in the collection of evidence to monitor progress in the defragmentation between science and science, between science and industry, and between science and the European regions. In this sense, the EMBRIC community is actively collaborating with RISIS in the mapping and analysis of the marine biotechnology research eco-system surrounding EMBRIC actors/nodes.
• Creation of a community of practice in Technology Transfer (TT) and design of an action plan. Innovation ecosystems linked to the different cluster nodes are being analyzed, as well as the TT practices that are currently in place or being developed among EMBRIC partners.
• Significant work has been developed in the releasing the potential of recalcitrant bacteria, where growth conditions are being refined and cutting-edge technologies available at partner institutions are being utilized in the identification, isolation and characterization of potential active compounds.
• Serious progress has been achieved in the identification of microalgal strains for exploitation in the blue biotechnology industry where extracts with active anti-proliferative activity have been found. Further characterization is being carried out.
• Robust standards for trait measurement in shellfish covering growth, meat yield and chemical composition have been developed and implemented in association with the European Nucleotide Archive. In the future this will enable researchers to associate trait and genetic data enabling large scale meta-analyses of different data sets.
• A workflow has been developed to ascertain the statistical power needed to validate genetic markers for fillet yield in fin-fish based on the accuracy of trait measurement and marker frequency.
• Challenge protocols for pathogen were developed for King Scallop and Atlantic salmon to establish the dose of pathogen producing 50% infection, a key step for discovering genetic markers conferring disease resistance.
• A generalized workflow for a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) panel for parentage assignment has been validated for Atlantic salmon and should have wide applicability for other aquaculture species.
• A Company Forumm specialized in aquaculture has been established and has now more than 30 active SMEs and large company members. Around 50 industry participants were present in the first Company Forum workshop held at the 2016 European Aquaculture Society Meeting in Edinburgh.
• The EMBRIC integrated training program was launched to boost continuous professional development and human capacity building of EMBRIC researchers. Through this program, EMBRIC will spread harmonized expertise and best practices to academia and private sector during and beyond the formal end of the project.
• The EMBRIC training platform, set up to promote training initiatives within and outside the consortium by linking to the EMBRC fostered Marine Training Platform, was launched (
• All the information on the partners’ RIs to which EMBRIC will provide Transnational Access (TA) has been gathered and compiled into an on-line application form that is now available in the TA webpage at the EMBRIC website.
• Initial work on mapping available organism databases, their structure, functionality and required modifications and standardization. Modifications in specific databases such as the DSMZ Bacterial Diversity database have been performed.
• Initial work has been carried out in the harmonization of procedures towards access, in particular measures to comply with the Access and Benefit Sharing legislation.
• Development of three discovery pipelines (i.e. proteins, secondary metabolites and carbohydrates) and an Online Software Tool (OST) to access them.
• Mutant collections of microalgae are being generated and preliminarily characterized to identify genotypes with enhanced properties.
• Attempts to obtain sexual reproduction in some of the microalgae model species are being conducted.
• The TA first call has been launched and is in progress.
• Assembly of a second Company Forum in the microalgae field.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Given the current state-of-the-art, the advances at the end of EMBRIC will be:
• Functional trans-disciplinary collaboration between related RIs: EMBRC, the main RI for the provision of marine bioresources, AQUAEXCEL specialised on finfish, and the more generic RIs in biological, chemical and social sciences MIRRI, EU-OPENSCREEN, ELIXIR and RISIS.
• Integrated services made available to a wider community of users in the provision of marine biological resources, natural products chemistry, bioanalysis and data services and technology transfer creating mechanisms for assessing/monitoring socio-economic impacts and thus value creation.
• Advances in science and technology for the sectors of marine prokaryotes, microalgae and shellfish and finfish.
• A network of TT officers established in EMBRIC nodes throughout Europe.
• The creation of a task force of policy-makers from universities and research organisations throughout Europe as well as from RDI political bodies at the regional, national and EU levels for the enforcement of EMBRIC strategy.
• Agreement in principle reached to maintain the cluster as a useful instrument that will continue to serve public and private research in marine biology and biotechnology beyond the duration of the project.

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