Successful launch and completion of IS_MIRRI21/MIRRI two matchmaking events

The partners of H2020 project, IS_MIRRI21, launched two events on 15 and 17 June with the aim of opening gateways for MIRRI to foster new partnerships and collaboration with its users through the opportunities presented in the new European Union funding programme, Horizon Europe. The event was co-organised by the coordinator of IS_MIRRI21, the University of Minho (UMinho) and Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) from Portugal and hosted over 120 participants from Europe, Africa and Latin America. Both were side-events at the RI-VIS H2020, sister project of IS_MIRRI21, Latin America-Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures that took place from 15-17 June. 

The IS_MIRRI21 webinar was presented by two experts and representatives of MIRRI partner organisations, Nelson Lima (University of Minho, Portugal) and Joanna Bucka-Kolendo (Institute of Agricultural and Food Biotechnology, Poland) and an expert from the PERIN Network in Portugal, Daniel Carapau (Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal). The main aim of the event was to widen MIRRI’s outreach and boost its impact in the research and innovation sector by showcasing its unique value-added to its potential users and partners from Europe and Latin-America. The webinar had three main sessions, i) presentation of MIRRI as a pan-European Research Infrastructure (RI) with immense capacity to provide resources and expertise for any partnership, ii) instructing on how to become one of the 50+ members of MIRRI and gain from the collective assets presented through the network, and iii) exhibit some of the most relevant, and present funding opportunities in the Horizon Europe programme Pillar I (Excellent Science).

Hand-in-hand, the workshop focused on MIRRI’s core values and strategic plan to influence and create a wave of changes in the R&I sectors through escalating access: access to resources, information, expertise and to its network of partners from 11 European countries. The workshop had three key sessions, i) presentation of MIRRI’s collaborative history with infrastructures in Europe and Latin America, i) MIRRI Strategic R&I Agenda (SRIA) and  the seven strategic areas which showcase MIRRI’s expertise and how it intends to serve the bioindustry and iii) funding opportunities from the Horizon Europe programme under Pillar II corresponding to the MIRRI domains: Health & Food, Agro-food and Environment and Energy. The workshop was co-facilitated by MIRRI experts –  Nelson Lima (University of Minho, Portugal), Rosa Aznar (University of Valencia, Spain), Gerard Verkleij (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie Van Wetenschappen, Netherlands), and members of the PERIN Network – Isabel Carvalho Oliveira (Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation , Portugal) Maria João Fernandes and Cristiana Leandro (National Agency of Innovation , Portugal). 

The expected outcomes of both events were to present the tools, i.e., funding opportunities for collaboration. This is so researched infrastructures and institutions as well as experts and members of the bioindustry sector can collaborate to realise innovative solutions. Solutions that can progress research so that we can fight and win the battle against incessant health, economic and environmental challenges which are hindering growth and development in many communities around the world. 

Moreover, IS_MIRRI21 and MIRRI were represented by Raquel Hurtado-Ortiz from Institut Pasteur (France) at the RI-VIS main event on 17 June. A panel discussion on the subject of ‘Future of Latin America-Europe Research Infrastructure Collaborations’ was held with the aim of debating how to foster long/term RI partnerships across borders that have the potential to improve the efficiency and quality of research to tackle the many challenges faced by society today. The event brought together around 100 people from different countries of Europe and Latin America to address major global issues such as climate change, infectious diseases, food security, and natural disasters.

We thank all the speakers for their professionalism and dedication to support IS_MIRRI21 and MIRRI’s mission through these events! 

The webinar and workshop are now available on the IS_MIRRI21 website for your viewing:https://ismirri21.mirri.org/resources/project-videos/

If you participated or watched the events and would like to share your take or get hold of us, fill in this 3 min survey: https://forms.gle/zCeKKoGD84npCdoJ7

Where do we go next?

IS_MIRRI21 will continue its outreach activities to engage with MIRRI’s users and public audiences with hunger to acquire knowledge in the fields of biosciences and gain an appreciation for the tiny lives that have a great impact on our lives. The next IS_MIRRI21 event will take place on 27 June 2021, 11.00-12.00 CEST for the World Microbiome Day #WMicrobiomeDay! What will we look at? Sustainability of the environment through symbiotic living with microorganisms that are not only as powerful but are also allies in this venture. Their positive roles should never be underestimated or overlooked.

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All are invited! Register here (FREE):  https://forms.gle/Aeu1s3fZLUnEKj4t9

More events will come from the IS_MIRRI21 partners #ScienceisWonderful #InternationalMicroorganismDay.

Stay tuned!

Contacts: For more information and feedback, please contact us at: franciscorocha@spi.pt; tedoraaibu@spi.pt

MIRRI successfully concludes its 1st TNA call for proposals and thanks all applicants

The Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) is pleased to inform that recently, and after 3 months of continuous and intense dissemination, has successfully completed its 1st call for Transnational Access (TNA) under the IS_MIRRI21 project. Applications have been received from Europe, Africa and Latin America, covering fields as diverse as biotechnology, bioeconomy, pharmacology, agri-food and environmental conservation.

The process is now proceeding with the evaluation phase, where external experts review the submissions and select the most suitable ones to have funded access to develop their projects at the IS_MIRRI21 partners’ facilities. The awarded submissions will be announced on the 4th   of June on the IS_MIRRI21 TNA page and the access to the facilities will be granted from July 2021.

The unprecedented health crisis the world is living nowadays has made a lasting impact on research and the mobility of scientists. Notwithstanding, MIRRI and the IS_MIRRI21 project partners are always committed to guarantee, as much as possible, the access to its facilities and resources and keep supporting the development of meritorious research and innovation projects.

MIRRI and the IS_MIRRI21 project partners deeply appreciate the interest and the participation of all the applicants on this 1st Transnational Access call!

Publisher: Institut Pasteur

A series of seminars in April and May 2021 for Italian high schools

University of Torino (UNITO) and IS_MIRRI21 join the Scientific Degree Plan 2020-21 (PLS) to promote the acquisition of scientific skills that better meet the challenges of contemporary society and the expectations of the world of work by students.

The PLS (Piano Lauree Scientifiche) represents a consolidated initiative to promote the acquisition of scientific skills that better meet the challenges of contemporary society and the expectations of the world of work by students and to strengthen the impact of training on society. The actions aim to: a) systematize the practice of the “laboratory” for the teaching of basic sciences, in particular for the training orientation of female students and students of the last three years of secondary school; b) open new experimentations in schools and universities of didactic activities aimed at improving the preparation of students in relation to the knowledge required for entry to scientific degree courses; c) consolidate, develop and systematize the opportunities for professional growth of teachers of scientific subjects in service in the upper secondary school; and d) reduce the dropout rate between the first and second year during university studies through the innovation of teaching tools and methodologies.

Mycotheca Universitatis Taurinensis (MUT) will organize a series of seminars at various high schools in Turin (Italy) and its province to better raise awareness of microorganisms and their potential to face some of the great challenges of contemporary society. The seminars are conducted in Italian and the activities are organized into 3 main topics:

  • Microorganisms around us;
  • Microorganisms in the great societal challenges; and
  • Microorganisms as pivotal tools in environmental bioremediation.

Publisher: UNITO

IS_MIRRI21 and MIRRI’s participation at the Latin American Federation for Culture Collections (FELACC) workshops in 2021

On 9 March and 20 April 2021, the project partners, the University of Minho and the University of Valencia, represented the work of MIRRI and IS_MIRRI21 at the Latin American Federation for Culture Collections (FELACC)  workshop entitled ‘Ex situ Preservation and Data Management in Collections of Microbial Cultures’. The event was divided into two modules:  professor Nelson Lima,  director of Micoteca da Universidade do Minho (MUM) participated in module I (9 March 2021) with the conference “Microbial culture collections: European and national challenges for the MIRRI research infrastructure”, and professor Rosa Aznar, director of the Spanish Type Culture Collection (CECT) at the University of Valencia, participated in module II (20 April 2021) with the conference “MIRRI the gateway to microbiological innovation in Europe”, both showing the importance of the culture collections in microbiodiversity preservation and the paper of MIRRI in providing microbial-based green solutions to societal challenges. The event hosted more than 500 researchers, students and specialists from various countries and was conducted in Spanish and Portuguese with the intention of inviting and engaging audiences from European and Latin American countries. The virtual workshop was organized by the Latin American Federation for Culture Collections (FELACC) and the Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) with the aim of gathering international scientific communities interested in ex situ preservation of microorganisms and data management to empower and expand collaborative networks across the globe. The workshop provided a platform to stress the value of building a solid international network with the objective of implementing awareness-raising campaigns about the importance of ex situ preservation of microorganisms. In addition, it provided an opportunity to showcase UFRO’s work in the field of ex situ preservation and data management in the collection of microbial cultures. Both MUM and CECT had also the opportunity to show the microbial services provided and their work on microbial preservation on the online, non-synchronous poster presentation session and abstract book.

Publisher: IS_MIRRI21 communication team

Low density polyethylene degradation by filamentous fungi

Federica Spina, Maria Laura Tummino, Anna Poli, Valeria Prigione, Viktoria Ilieva, Piersandro Cocconcelli, Edoardo Puglisi, Pierangiola Bracco, Marco Zanetti, Giovanna Cristina Varese. Environmental Pollution.

Topic: filamentous fungi, plastic polymers, biodegradation, SEM and FT-IT analysis

Polyethylene (PE) is the most abundant non-degradable plastic waste, posing a constant and serious threat to the whole ecosystem. In the present study, the fungal community of plastic wastes contaminating a landfill soil has been studied. After 6 months of enrichment, 95 fungi were isolated, mostly belonging to the Ascomycota phylum. They were screened under in vitro condition: most of the fungi (97%) were capable of growing in the presence of PE powder (5-10 g L-1) as sole carbon source. Fusarium strains better tolerated high concentration of PE. Up to 13 strains were chosen for further degradation trails, where the process was monitored by respirometry tests and by observing changes in PE chemical and physical structure by FTIR analysis and SEM images. Major results were observed for Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium falciforme and Purpureocillum lilacinum, as they caused strong oxidation phenomena and changes in the PE film morphology. Results suggested that the initial oxidation mechanisms targeted first the methyl terminal groups. Changes in the infrared spectra were strongly strain-dependent, denoting the activation of different degradation pathways. Through the SEM analysis, the actual damages provoked by fungi were observed, including swellings, pits and furrows, bumps and partial exfoliations. Considering the rising concern about plastic disposal worldwide, the ability of these fungi to colonize PE and utilize it as carbon source is of great interest, as no pretreatments and pro-oxidant stimulants were needed.

A special thanks to JRU MIRRI-IT for the technical and scientific support. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Fondazione CRT, under the “Erogazioni ordinarie 2019” Project 2019.0471. The work of EP and PSC was supported by Fondazione Cariplo, project 2014-0465 “Gaining insights in the microbial degradation of polyethylene plastics to promote efficient bioremediation strategies”.

Find the article here: DOI –  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116548

Publisher: University of Torino, Italy

IS_MIRRI21 launches the first Transnational Access (TNA) call on 25 January 2021

The first call under the Transnational Access programme of IS_MIRRI21 will soon be launched from 25 January 2021 until 16 April 2020. The TNA programme is an initiative to promote transnational cooperation and mobility of researchers throughout pan-European research infrastructures. IS_MIRRI21 TNA programme aims to financially and logistically support access to top-class Microbial Resource Research Infrastructures across Europe.

This call for proposals invites users from research organisations and companies (in the fields of biotechnology, agro-food, pharmaceuticals, environment, etc.) to apply for funded access to one or several of the 14 IS_MIRRI21 partners’ facilities across Europe. The TNA offers on-site and remote access to a wide variety of microbial resources and facilities to conduct scientific studies. The TNA online portal is now available with full details on the eligibility, access providers, submission and reporting rules and guides, and more. Applicants are required to contact the access officer (tna@mirri.org) for pre-feasibility evaluation of their projects prior to the submission of the proposal. Prospective participants can find the handbook for application in our TNA Application Guidelines available online.

Visit our TNA Catalogue to find the best fit services, products and facilities to your needs.   

For more information, visit the TNA PORTAL here: https://ismirri21.mirri.org/project-platforms/tna/

Publisher: Institut Pasteur

MIRRI Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for 2021-2030

The Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) is a 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.

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.

This year marks a great accomplishment for MIRRI!

On 25 March 2021, MIRRI disclosed its “Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda 2021-2030”. Under the motto “Microbial resources for a green, healthy and sustainable future”, the Agenda intends to anticipate major trends and opportunities for the valorisation of microbial resources (i.e., microorganisms/microbes and their derivatives) for the sustainable development of society and the economy.

According to the Executive Director of MIRRI, Luís Soares, “the new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda reveals MIRRI’s Vision to boost the use of microbial resources by the scientific community and bioindustries, until the end of this decade, in response to some of the greatest societal, environmental and economic challenges that Europe and the World will face, such as those related to the circular economy, human and planetary health, food security and safety, climate transition, decarbonisation or biodiversity”, adding that “MIRRI’s Strategic Agenda can serve as an inspiration for governmental authorities and for other agents of society and the economy in defining policies, programmes and initiatives that can lead to a more sustainable development”.

MIRRI’s Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda 2021-2030 is available for download at www.mirri.org.

Keep up with new updates from MIRRI through its LinkedIn page!

Publisher: IS_MIRRI21 communication team

Scientific day on Microbiota and Microbiome

IS_MIRRI21 partner, INRAE-CIRM participated in the Microbiota Day organised by RaRe (French Infrastructure for Research in Agronomic Resources). This scientific meeting was devoted to numerous presentations on methods for the conservation and characterisation of microbiotes from different biotopes (e.g. human, plants, environment, animals). MIRRI and IS_MIRRI21 were represented by the members of the CIRM who presented the objectives of IS_MIRRI21 in the implementation of MIRRI-ERIC. Following numerous questions from the audience (more than a hundred researchers in the field of microbiota studies), they also discussed the role that MIRRI and IS_MIRRI21 could play in facilitating research on the microbiota, and in particular on the conservation and distribution aspects that will shape the 21st century microbiology and its applications in all fields from human health to agronomy.

Publisher: Partners: INRAE-CIRM

IS_MIRRI21 and MIRRI were represented by partners at the EU-CELAC RI Cooperation Workshop held on 03.11.2020

MIRRI and IS_MIRRI21 participated in one of the series of workshops hosted by the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Working Group on Research Infrastructures (EU-LAC RI). MIRRI is a European research infrastructure that envisions synergies and collaboration with other research infrastructure beyond Europe. In this workshop, the partners of IS_MIRRI21 and 32 other RIs from Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, France, Belgium and many more countries addressed the issue of ‘Food Security’. The participants had a short window to concisely present their research infrastructures and explain what they are looking for and what they can offer others. The brief introductions were followed by rich and insightful discussions of possibilities for future EU-LAC cooperation guided by preset questions from the organisers.

Publisher: IS_MIRRI21 Communications Team

Conclusion of the first online workshop ‘Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for the 21st Century’ from IAFB held on 23.10.2020

Workshop presenters
Polish IT support team

Pictures from left to right – Marleen Bosschaerts, Joanna Bucka-Kolendo and Artur Hugo Swiergiel, Rosa Aznar, Nelson Lima, Vincent Robert and Alexander Wasilenko.

IT support team from left to right – Greg Adach, Marcin Sokolowski.

The IS_MIRRI21’s Partner Institute of Agricultural Food Biotechnology prof. Waclaw Dabrowski located in Warsaw (IAFB) organised and broadcasted the first workshop in the forthcoming series of workshops. The workshop titled ‘Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for the 21st Century’, was addressed to Culture Collection partners from a variety of fields to integrate them as Potential Partners for the pan-European RI, MIRRI. A total of 64 participants were connected with us during the workshop. Artur Hugo Swiergiel, the Director of Institute and Leader of WP8, opened the workshop and introduced the known microbial resources and the activities of IAFB in IS_MIRRI21. The Belgian Coordinator of Culture Organisms- Marleen Bosscharets, presented a topic about the structure and history of MIRRI as well as how the position of MIRRI looks in the Research Infrastructure landscape. Furthermore, Marleen shared knowledge about the activities and mission of MIRRI-ERIC as a European Research Infrastructure. Thereafter, the project coordinator, Nelson Lima, introduced the goals and services of IS_MIRRI21 and explained how to be a member and observer in the project. Rosa Aznar, who is a coordinator of Spanish Type Culture from Valencia, and Vincent Robert who is a Leader of the informatics group from Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute from Netherlands discussed about multifunctional virtual platform. We also had the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences from Alexander Vasilenko, a representative of the All-Russian Collection of Micro-organisms from Russian Federation Partner.

We would like to thank again all participants and partners for joining us. Soon, the WP8 team from IAFB will organise a workshop for stakeholders from other countries who are not involved in the IS_MIRRI21 project.

Publisher: Kamila Daniluk, Microbiologist from Institute of Agricultural Food Biotechnology prof. Waclaw Dabrowski