CORBEL cluster project selected for funding

Major EU funding will support efforts to facilitate access to data, medical and biological facilities for life-science research.

ELIXIR will coordinate a €14.5 million project over four years to establish and support a new model for biological and medical research in Europe by harmonising user access to resources, unifying data management and creating common ethical and legal services. ‘CORBEL’ will build on existing efforts within BioMedBridges to develop the tools, services and data management required by cutting-edge European research projects.

Leading the Data management Work Package, EMBL-EBI will work on implementing the necessary data standards, management, deposition and access to unite all of Europe’s life-science research infrastructures. This will benefit biologists and software developers alike, for example by providing consistent identifiers to biological samples so they can be mapped to relevant molecular and imaging data. The technical work in CORBEL will underpin progress in endeavours such as grid infrastructure, pharmacology infrastructure, biological and medical imaging infrastructure and translational medicine initiatives.

“Our goal is to deliver and implement ‘best of breed’ interoperable standards so we can start to see these large-scale support structures begin to work together,” says Helen Parkinson, head of Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies at EMBL-EBI. “This is incredibly important if we want to achieve both open data and access to secure data for life-science research. BioMedBridges allowed us to implement pilots across biomedical infrastructures; ELIXIR has done the same, and CORBEL will allow us to scale up and integrate our efforts.”

The data integration work in CORBEL will directly impact large-scale endeavours including ISBEEATRISEuro-BioImagingEU-OPENSCREEN and INFRAFRONTIER, as the project relies on testing and feedback from these enabling users to deliver high-quality results and ensure their adoption. CSC, which acts as ELIXIR Finland Node, is also involved in data management, including on tasks relating to secure access to sensitive data.  

“We’ll be working within Europe’s infrastructure communities but also with academic and commercial users from IMI projects. We want to draw on input from the largest possible pool of users to ensure the shared services delivered by CORBEL are fit for purpose now and sustainable over the long term,” adds Dr Parkinson. 

“We were very pleased to learn that the EU is supporting this high-impact project, because there are so many excellent partners here who will be working to integrate their services. This means real value for researchers, who will find it easier to gain access to physical infrastructures,” says ELIXIR Director Niklas Blomberg. “Europe's life scientists depend on access to biological and medical technologies, biological samples and the data services that bring them all together. The work in CORBEL will help us grow a truly innovative research environment in Europe.”

More about CORBEL

The ESFRI Biological and Medical Research Infrastructures (BMS RI) join scientific capabilities and shared services to transform the understanding of biological mechanisms and accelerate the translation of this knowledge into biological and health applications. The resources brought together by these infrastructures include physical biobank samples, imaging facilities and molecular screening centres. ‘CORBEL’ (Coordinated Research Infrastructures Building Enduring Life-science Services) aims to create a joint platform that will visibly reduce redundancy and simplify project management, transforming the ability of users to deliver advanced, cross-disciplinary research in Europe.

CORBEL is coordinated by ELIXIR and the ESFRI Research Infrastructures involved are: BBMRI, EATRIS, ECRIN, EMBRC, EU-OPENSCREEN, Euro-BioImaging, INFRAFRONTIER, Instruct, ISBE and MIRRI. 

The full list of partner organisations on the grant are: The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany and the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute in the UK; the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network in France; InfraFrontier in Germany; Instruct Academic Services Ltd in the UK; the Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) in Austria and EATRIS in the Netherlands (both ERIC infrastructures); the University of Dundee, University of Liverpool, University Of Manchester, University Court of the University of St Andrews, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and CAB International in the UK; Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam, Stichting VU-VUMC, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie Van Wetenschappen – Knaw and Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen in the Netherlands; Fundacio Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Fundacio Centre de Regulacio Genomica and Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Spain; Idryma Iatroviologikon Ereunon Akademias Athinon in Greece; Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Consorzio Interuniversitario Risonanze Magnetiche di Metallo Proteine, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn and Universita Degli Studi Di Torino in Italy; Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Duesseldorf, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen Deutsches Forschungszentrum Fuer Gesundheit, Forschungsverbund Berlin, Max Delbrueck Centrum Fuer Molekulare Medizin, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkultur and Jacobs University Bremen in Germany; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France; CSC-Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus Oy in Finland; and Medizinische Universitaet Wien in Austria.

Thu 26 March 2015