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MIRRI-IT and the BY-COVID project

Members of MIRRI-IT integrate the BY-COVID consortium

Braga (Portugal) and Turin (Italy), 29 October 2021
It has been officially launched a new €12 million Horizon Europe funded project, BeYond-COVID (BY-COVID), which will tackle the data challenges that can hinder effective pandemic response. The core aim of the project is to ensure that data on SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious diseases can be found and used by everyone.
BY-COVID is an interdisciplinary project that unites life science, medical, policy, social science and public health experts from across Europe. Led by ELIXIR, the project has 53 partners from 20 European countries. It will run for three years and is part of the European Commission’s HERA Incubator plan “Anticipating together the threat of COVID-19 variants”.
MIRRI, the pan-European distributed Research Infrastructure for the preservation, study, provision and valorisation of microbial resources and biodiversity, will take part in the project BY-COVID through the participation of three of the member organisations of its Italian node, MIRRI-IT, namely: Ospedale Policlinico San Martino (USMI), Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe), and Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell’Emilia Romagna (IZSLER).
According to its Executive Director, Luís Soares, “MIRRI has a pivotal role to play on the response to microbialrelated emergencies, since we bring together a comprehensive set of resources, data, services and expertise, coming from our many partner organisations, which provide real added-value for researchers and companies working in the field of human and human-animal infectious diseases, or in the development of new diagnostic or therapeutic solutions”.
Paolo Romano, principal investigator of MIRRI-IT in the project, adds that “The contribution provided by MIRRI partners to BY-COVID, while relatively limited in person-month effort, is very relevant for the best results of the project. The contribution of the Ospedale Policlinico San Martino will bring important knowledge and expertise in the health domain, while the other MIRRI-IT partners will provide a unique expertise in the domain of veterinary health and especially in infective diseases of zoonotic origin”.

The project BY-COVID, in a nutshell

BY-COVID will build and expand upon the successful COVID-19 Data Platform, a resource initiated in the early stages of the pandemic and led by EMBL-EBI. Since its launch, many countries have established their own national data hubs, which ensures that data produced locally can be instantaneously connected and shared with the main COVID-19 Data Portal. Rather than focus purely on providing technical solutions to the biological data, BY-COVID will work with partners such as the Versatile emerging infectious disease Observatory (VEO) and the Public Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI) to incorporate data from a broader range of disciplines, including public health and social sciences.
The BY-COVID project strives to simplify data access and reuse through four key pillars:

  • Mobilise data – ensuring raw sequencing data from across the world can be easily submitted to core data hubs.
  • Connect data – build the technical capacity to allow linking of sequence data and metadata, expanding beyond scientific and medical data to broader metadata from, for example, public health and economics, and support integration to the COVID-19 Data Portal.
  • Standardise data – provide recommended data management protocols to encourage Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data standards and interoperability among resources.
  • Expose and analyse data – support exposure and analysis of FAIR data on infectious diseases such as the regular VEO reports on mutations and variation in publicly shared SARS-CoV-2 data and the open COVID-19 Galaxy analysis platform.

For more information, visit the BY-COVID website at by-covid.org.

About MIRRI:

The Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) is the pan-European distributed Research Infrastructure for the preservation, systematic investigation, provision and valorisation of microbial resources and biodiversity. It brings together 50+ microbial domain Biological Resource Centres (mBRCs), culture collections and research institutes from ten European countries and one associated country, namely: Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (headquarters), Romania, Russia and Spain.
MIRRI serves the bioscience and the bioindustry communities by facilitating the access, through a single point, to the broadest range of high-quality microorganisms, their derivatives, associated data and services, with a special focus on the domains of Health & Food, Agro-Food, and Environment & Energy. By serving its users, by collaborating with other research infrastructures and by working with public authorities and policy makers, MIRRI contributes to the advancement of research and innovation in life sciences and biotechnology, as well as for a sustainable, competitive and resilient bioeconomy.
More information and contacts: mirri.org | linkedin.com/company/microbial-resource-researchinfrastructure/ | info@mirri.org.

About MIRRI-IT:

The Joint Research Unit MIRRI-IT is aimed at the implementation of the Italian node of MIRRI and at the development of the Italian network of collections of microbial resources. Its mission is to overcome fragmentation in availability of resources and services, enhancing the quality management system of the collections, while focusing on needs and challenges of the stakeholders interested in the biotechnological transfer of these resources. MIRRI-IT currently incudes five partners and 18 associated partners from Universities, Public Research Institutes and Hospitals. Partners are active in many domains of interest for microbial resources, including food and nutrition, agriculture, forestry and environment, as well as human and animal health.
For more information see mirri-it.it or get in touch by email with info@mirri-it.it.

BY-COVID is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101046203.

IS_MIRRI21 virtual events

Matchmaking for Horizon Europe opportunities and MIRRI membership

15 and 17 June 2021, 14:00 CEST
Held on the ZOOM platform

Register HERE for both events.

Organised by the University of Minho (UMinho) and Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) in collaboration with the RI-VIS H2020 project

Key presenters
Nelson Lima (University of Minho, UMinho); Joanna Bucka-Kolendo (Institute of Agricultural and Food Biotechnology, IAFB), Rosa Aznar (University of Valencia, UVEG-CECT), Gerard Verkleij (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie Van Wetenschappen, KNAW), Isabel Carvalho Oliveira, Maria João Fernandes, Cristiana Leandro and Daniel Carapau (Portugal-Europe R&I Network, PERIN)

Background
Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for the 21st Century (IS_MIRRI21) is a three-year project funded under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission. IS_MIRRI21 is a scientific project that aims to establish a pan-European research infrastructure called Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) as a sustainable entity with a set of its own diverse services and offers. IS_MIRRI21 took-off in February 2020 with 14 European partners and eight third parties, 20 of which are academic institutions and research infrastructures. The consortium members of IS_MIRRI21 are jointly working with the objective of alleviating the current fragmentation of bio-resource holdings and information, eliminating duplication and redundancy at the national and pan-European level.

MIRRI, as a sustainable end-product, intends to connect biological resource holders and researchers in order to facilitate the efficient delivery of resources and services and meet the needs of innovation in Life Sciences and biotechnology by driving collaboration across borders and disciplines. MIRRI is made up of more than 50 member organisations including academic institutions, microbial Biological Resource Centres (mBRCs), Culture Collections (CCs) and experts from 11 European countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation and Spain). MIRRI is a non-profit RI designed through the collaboration of European research institutes, universities, culture collections and consultancy organisations with a special focus on the domains of Health & Food, Agro-Food, and Environment & Energy. MIRRI’s services and offers are supplied through the resources and expertise of its members to induce and sustain transnational cooperation and coordination in research and innovation within the sectors of Life Sciences and Biotechnology. In its present capacity, MIRRI holds over 600,000 strains of microorganisms and microbiological resources, over 70 different types of services (including training, education and consultancy offers) with more than 30 workflows and has more than 300 direct participants and beneficiaries in the organisation.

MIRRI will soon be recognised as an ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) to serve users from biosciences and bioindustry by facilitating access to a broad range of high quality bioresources and data in a legally compliant way. Through collaboration with other research infrastructures and by working with public authorities and policy makers, MIRRI contributes to the advancement of research and innovation in Europe to create a sustainable, competitive and resilient bioeconomy.

Whether as an expert, a Member State, an academic institution or a culture collection, MIRRI offers its members the opportunity to be part of a large and dynamic laboratory as a whole, sharing and exchanging knowledge, providing services, gaining visibility and playing a unique role in the European scientific research and innovation landscape of Food, Health, Agriculture, Energy, Environmental Sciences and more. MIRRI’s membership is open to a range of stakeholders in the global innovation community. With the objective of exploiting MIRRI’s resources through collaboration with other RIs in Europe and Latin America thereby advancing bioscience innovation and research, these two events have been set up with the aim of presenting opportunities to bring innovation actors in Life Sciences and biotechnology to the same table. In synergy with RI-VIS, a Horizon 2020 funded project designed to increase the visibility of European research infrastructures (RIs) to new communities in Europe and beyond, IS_MIRRI21 partners and innovation actors from Research and Development (R&D) frameworks in Europe will present funding opportunities for joint collaboration in the above-mentioned domains and how to become a member of MIRRI’s network.

Agendas
Both agendas for the webinar on 15 June and workshop on 17 June can be found here as well as in the web site of MIRRI-IT at Agenda of IS_MIRRI21 virtual events: Matchmaking for Horizon Europe opportunities and MIRRI membership.

Where to register?
Registration for both events is free but compulsory in order to receive the links and updates prior to the event. Registration is open until the launch of the events.

Registration link: https://forms.gle/fYr6f3rHchNjG3yF9

Contact us
For any additional information, please contact Franciscorocha@spi.pt and tedoraaibu@spi.pt.

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