Methodology of the Cluster

The EMBRIC work plan is designed to build, test and refine service provision workflows for applied bioprospection and aquaculture-related research on marine resources, with the principal outcome being a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between partners from complementary EU RIs for future sustainability of this workflow mosaic.The components of the EMBRIC work plan are as follows:
 

WP1 mission is to establish the operational and organizational means for the coordination and communication across the cluster and beyond the EMBRIC project.
This WP will improve the coordination of BRCs in the EMBRIC cluster by mapping the relevant resources and linking them to existing electronic databases, providing all the relevant information on marine model organisms and cultures in one place. Culturing and husbandry, shipment and quality control will also be streamlined across the cluster to ensure that the same high standard and quality is achieved for all biological materials supplied through the BRCs. Finally, a system will be developed and put in place to provide all supplied materials with a “passport”, giving all relevant information on culturing conditions, origin, and level of compliance with ABS rules and regulations. The system will also allow for the tracking of biological material to allow the cluster to determine how widely its resources are being used and the scientific impact that it has on the research & development community. WP2 will contribute significantly to facilitating access to marine biological materials for users and ensure that they receive high quality resources from EMBRIC.
We establish harmonized experimental workflows to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and innovation from marine resources. To this end, we link the expertise of our participating Research Infrastructures and centres of excellence in a way that supports scientists throughout the entire discovery process—from the initial idea to the final product.
We enable access to data infrastructure for marine scientists. Bringing together the expertise of SAMS, CNR, UIT, EMBL, HCMR and CNRS/IFB, we work to leverage the rich complement of biomolecular resources available from ELIXIR and we connect scientists to the data services they need.
Because marine biology stations are located by the sea (taking advantage of close proximity to the marine environment), they are often located far from large metropolitan areas. To explore, characterise, assess and compare maritime regional research driven clusters (RRDCs), WP5 of EMBRIC focuses on suggesting and implementing initiatives to promote innovation, technology transfer and value creation in blue biotechnology. This will be achieved by mobilizing complementary skills and resources from the European research infrastructures (RIs) that participate in EMBRIC.
Twenty microorganisms recently isolated from the marine environment or closely related rarely isolated species that are normally difficult to grow are being taken through the different processes of characterisation and scale up to active molecule production providing a clear picture of the processes and opportunities available to access active molecules from marine biodiversity for research and development needs. This demonstration of use case will provide insight on the methods to identify potential and focus on the key organisms most likely to deliver the molecules of interest. Marine organisms are notoriously difficult to grow therefore it is essential to focus on the most promising and for everyone to be aware of the variety and detail of the potential technologies and support that is available to speed up the process of discovery.
This WP aims to apply biological knowledge and cutting-edge techniques to develop products from marine organisms. The different institutes involved in WP7 (SZN, HZI, UGENT, UPMC, SAMS, MBA, BAS, UNS) provide complementary expertise in biology, analytical chemistry and genetic engineering and work to identify and/or ameliorate high-performance microalgal strains for exploitation in the blue biotechnology industry. The two main tasks of WP7 will be i) the identification of natural products from microalgal strains and ii) the development of genomics resources and toolboxes for strain improvement, nowadays a key strategy to unlock the unique and still unexplored potential of marine biodiversity.
The EMBRIC case study on selective breeding in aquaculture species involves partners from EMBRC, AQUAEXCEL and ELIXIR. The WP8 tasks cover the development of standards and protocols for trait measurements, the generation of sample and genomic datasets and the harmonization of workflows for genetic marker discovery. To make the activities relevant to industry three SMEs (Scalpro A/S, Tunatech GmbH and Xelect Ltd) are involved as partners. In order to facilitate knowledge exchange between the research infrastructure cluster and aquaculture breeding companies a “Company Forum” has been established. The activities of the Company Forum will be promoted at a booth in the trade show associated with the European Aquaculture Society meeting in Edinburgh 20-23rd September 2016.
This work package will allow the EMBRIC consortium partners and external end-users to follow specific trainings tailored to the needs of the EMBRIC key activities. A supporting framework will be set-up to facilitate organization and dissemination of those opportunities, promoting exchange of new knowledge arising from research. At the end, a more efficient technology and knowledge transfer will take place, improving best practice and human capacity building development.
The pilot TA program tests the added value of EMBRIC in accelerating the generation of new knowledge and its transfer in marine biotechnology. TA is offered to workflows across the consortium (WPs 2-5) and new resources developed (WPs 6-8) because external users are best placed to beta-test EMBRIC’s robustness to respond to diverse demands and provide external views and ideas on further improvement of its services. In practice, EMBRIC will offer on-site access to living resources and their natural products, to equipped research laboratories and services, including molecular biology and bioinformatics, bioimaging, metabolic profiling, structural and chemical biology and bioassays, to databases and IT services, as well as to advice on technology transfer.