IS_MIRRI21 Newsletter no 1

IS_MIRRI21 is a project financed under the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme that supports research and innovation in the use and preservation of microbial life for the purpose of basic and applied scientific research through the implementation of the Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) and securing its long-term sustainability. By January 2023, MIRRI intends to be a sustainable infrastructure that provides, collects, preserves, researches and distributes many species of microorganisms and manages the morphological, molecular and genetic databases associated with these microbiological resources. IS_MIRRI21 will establish an online scientific research programme, a transnational access programme and a common online interface for life sciences researchers through a state-of-the-art single-entry online platform that will provide access to IS_MIRRI21 and MIRRI to all stakeholders and audiences.

Why is MIRRI significant?

Because microorganisms are of critical importance for the sustainability of life on our planet. Microorganisms are present in all ecological niches. There are more microorganisms on Earth than stars in the milky way. It is crucial to know and study their biodiversity, which is essential for the maintenance of ecological balances and which harbours resources important for human activities. Their evolutionary differences are far greater than those of other organisms. Thus far, IS_MIRRI21 has various collections of microorganisms including hundreds of thousands of yeasts, filamentous fungi, bacteria, cyanobacteria, archaea, viruses, bacteriophages, microalgae, diatoms, prions and other biological materials such as cloning vectors, plasmids, and clones of DNA libraries. All these materials will be used for the preservation and study of microbial life in the high class, multifaceted scientific pan-European research infrastructure that is MIRRI.

How does IS_MIRRI21 work?

IS_MIRRI21 is divided into 10 activities (Work Packages – WP) that perform specific tasks throughout the project.
The 10 Work Packages are described below:

WP1 – Project Management
To ensure that management environment and associated support to all the activities will be done efficiently and timely for the precise implementation of the project activities.

WP2 Research Strategy
To bring all the expertise in Science & Technology of the partnership at an upper level, taking into account the users’ needs linked to Research & Innovation.

WP3 – Central Governance and Operations
To define the main rules of operation and governance under the MIRRI-European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) statutes and European legal framework.

WP4 – Transnational Access Pilot (TNA)
To test the feasibility of access and standardise access procedures among IS_MIRRI21 project partners from reception of a request to delivery of biological raw materials and associated services.

WP5 – Capacity Building, Training and Education (T&E)
To establish the Training and Education programme that corresponds to the needs of different user categories such as scientists, industrials and international organisations.

WP6 – Collaborative Work Environment Platform (CWE) 
To oversee the development of an open, flexible, interoperable, transversal, multidisciplinary, secure and usable virtual research environment called the Collaborative Work Environment (CWE) platform.

WP7 – Outreach and Dissemination
To widen awareness about IS_MIRRI21 project among potential users and other stakeholders and mobilise target audiences (users) to engage in the project activities and use its services.

WP8 – Consolidation and Enlargement of Membership
To enlarge membership of MIRRI and consolidate the members who have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

WP9 – Business plan and Research Infrastructure Sustainability 
To deliver mechanisms for long-term sustainability of MIRRI to be integrated into a global strategy to enhance technological developments and exploitation of research outcomes in the field of microbial diversity, biotechnology and microbial resources.

Ethics requirements 
To develop the ‘ethics requirements’ according the EU legal framework and ensure its compliance in the project.

Words from the Coordinator

Dear All

It is my pleasure and privilege, as Coordinator of this new INFRADEV-3 European Project “Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for XXI Century” (IS_MIRRI21), to welcome you as a reader of the first IS_MIRRI21 Newsletter.

The pan-European distributed Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) was launched in 2012 and, is part of the Health and Food Research Infrastructure landscape and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap. After the preparatory phase project (ended in April 2016), MIRRI submitted the first step application to be European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) and is now finishing the documents for the second step submission. Meanwhile, in April 2018, it was decided that the MIRRI statutory seat would be situated in Portugal (University of Minho, Braga) and the Collaborative Working Environment virtual hub is to be operated from Spain (University of Valencia, Paterna).

The IS_MIRRI21 project started on 1 February 2020 with 14 partners and eight third parties from 10 European countries which have signed the MIRRI Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The new start has been temporarily staggered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consortium was challenged to move forward with the project using new management approaches. Nevertheless, all partners are confident and motivated in delivering high quality documents that would pave the way for MIRRI to be recognised as an ERIC legal entity. The establishment of the Collaborative Working Environment (CWE) is moving forward and the Data Management and Business plans are ongoing. Educational and Transnational Access offers are other key-elements that will be put in place soon.

This Newsletter intends to present IS_MIRRI21 to its wide-ranging target audiences and inform them about the relevant activities within the project and the achievements that the consortium expects to go in the direction of MIRRI’s stakeholders’ interests and aspirations. Therefore, we challenge you to communicate with us to continue strengthening the MIRRI community as never before and visit our website and social media to stay updated on IS_MIRRI21’s activities.

All the best,

Nelson Lima (M), PhD 
University of Minho 
Project Coordinator

The three-year long Horizon 2020 project IS_MIRRI21 was successfully launched on the 25th and 26th of March 2020 through a teleconference. It brought together 14 Consortium members, eight third parties and many interested participants. The kick-off meeting was attended by 57 participants and moderated by Professor Nelson Lima and his team on behalf of the project coordinator, University of Minho. Initially planned to be conducted in Braga (Portugal), the meeting was moved to an online setting due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

As building blocks, the 10 Work Packages of IS_MIRRI21 will implement various activities with objectives to provide raw microbial materials and strains, institute training and educational courses, form an international scientific network and create a collective platform to facilitate knowledge transfer among scientific and non-scientific professionals. At the kick-off meeting, each Work Package was presented by individual activity leaders with the support from members of the Advisory and Ethical Boards. IS_MIRRI21 has now begun implementing its action plans for 2020 through the establishment of the multidimensional and efficient virtual platform, Collaborative Work Environment (CWE), for the provision of its services and countless more offers.

IS_MIRRI21 aims to develop and launch a collaborative platform called:


It is a single-entry point to a virtual platform for IS_MIRRI21’s users. It will be designed in a manner that permits the transmission and access of information in a time-efficient way. The CWE serves as a single access point to the resources and services of IS_MIRRI21 and will be designed with the aim of living beyond the project duration of IS_MIRRI21 to the establishment and sustainable productivity of the legal entity, MIRRI-ERIC. This gateway to long lasting cooperation holds four doors:
     • The Gate to Research Infrastructure Information
     • The Gate to Microbial Resource, Data and Services
     • The Gate to Collaboration
     • The Gate to Training and Education

The CWE will be online by the end of 2021!

    IS_MIRRI21 launches its first Transnational access (TNA) call in January 2021  

TNA 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 the access to 13 top-class microbial Biological Resource Centres (mBRCs) across Europe. Scientists interested in carrying out research projects in these facilities will benefit from funded access to a wide variety of microbial resources, laboratories, state-of-the-art facilities, technological platforms and the experiences and expertise of their staff. Applications are welcomed from scientists working in academic institutions, research organisations and biotech companies based in EU member states, associated countries and other countries participating in the IS_MIRRI21 project. The proposals for the call must be submitted by 26 March 2021.

More information about this access opportunity and the application process will be available on IS_MIRRI21 TNA programme webpage in the coming weeks.

Upcoming events and workshops which will be hosted by IS_MIRRI21

     MIRRI membership enlargement workshop in Poland  

Organiser: Institute of Agriculture and Food Biotechnology

As IS_MIRRI21’s partner, the Institute of Agriculture and Food Biotechnology will be hosting an event in Warsaw, Poland in 2020 with the aim of consolidating and enlarging MIRRI’s partnerships. The workshop will be the first in a series which will take place under WP8 which aims to enlarge the membership or partnerships of MIRRI. The invitees of the workshop include new potential Partners from Polish Culture Collections (which covers different environment niches – e.g. medical and industrial), as well as Polish government representatives and policy makers.

The aim of this workshop
is to strengthen the IS_MIRRI21 partnerships at a national level through the integration of a greater number of Culture Collections and obtaining higher biodiversity of microbiological resources.  

More information and updates about the workshop will be published on the IS_MIRRI21 website and social media pages in the coming weeks. 

     Transnational Access (TNA) workshop:  Guidelines and procedures in France  

Organiser: Institut Pasteur

The IS_MIRRI21 partner, Biological Resource Center of the Institut Pasteur, CRBIP, is hosting an internal workshop for access providers in September 2020. The aim of this event is the establishment of guidelines for a harmonised implementation of management procedures concerning the first call of the TNA programme in January 2021. This workshop specifically targets the Liaison Officers, who are the local contact points for applicants based in each of the 13 access providers from nine countries across Europe participating in the IS_MIRRI21 TNA initiative. 

The meeting agenda addresses scientific, administrative, financial and legal aspects of the TNA such as access implementation and costs, TNA catalogue, contract, communications and online tools for management of proposals. Discussions about the conception and design of scientific workflows for the TNA are also foreseen. Moreover, thanks to collaboration with other EU-RI projects, such as CatRIS and EMBRC-ERIC, the participants will have the opportunity to hear from fellow coordinators and access officers the challenges and experiences faced during the development of other TNA programmes. The workshop will be broadcasted from the CRBIP in Paris following the registration.

Registration for the workshop can be done by contacting the IS_MIRRI21 Access Officer, Liliana Avila Ospina, and new communications will also be announced through the IS_MIRRI21 social media pages. 

* The workshop will take place in the afternoon of 21 and morning of 22 September 2020
* Registration is open for Liaison Officers and all members of MIRRI. It is
free but obligatory and accessible through the IS_MIRRI21 website.


IS_MIRRI21 participates in the initiative of the EU project MicrobiomeSupport

For the World Microbiome Day Stories, three of IS_MIRRI21’s partners, Institut Pasteur (France), University of Torino (Italy) and Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agronomie, l’Alimentatiion et l’Environnement (France), presented three microbe enthusiasts who are biologists currently active in their field. The aim of this exciting initiative for IS_MIRRI21 was to showcase how microorganisms are the supporters of human lives and that it is easy to fall in love with their complexity and power if we learn more about them.

These three biologists from IS_MIRRI21 expressed their interest and love for microorganisms so that all microbe fans around the world can understand why many scientists choose to study and preserve microbes with care and security. #MicrobiomeAmbassadoris an online campaign initiated by the EU project MicrobiomeSupport to use social media to connect all microbe lovers so that they can share why they love microbes and their communities.

To read about how Mery, Perrine and Ilario interact with microbes every day, please visit the World Microbiome Day website.

Background image © Institut Pasteur

IS_MIRRI21 website is now available to the public! 
Get to know who are our consortium members and collaborate with us through our online portal!


IS_MIRRI21 will raise awareness of the project’s outcomes and reach out to lay audiences for the purpose of creating consciousness about microorganisms. To achieve this, the project website was launched in May 2020 and is now live and accessible to the public. For researchers and recruits, the website will also feature vacancy announcements and calls for participation in specific project activities such as the Transnational Access programme (TNA). Through the IS_MIRRI21 website, you can also access the Platforms of MIRRI, the Collaborative Work Environment (CWE) and TNA programme. For our upcoming events and workshops, you can find the details, dates, location and duration of the events on the Calendar. All upcoming events, news, vacancies and publications will be communicated through the IS_MIRRI21 social media pages as well.
All public documents will be principally disseminated through the project website.
IS_MIRRI21 will launch its introductory video in the coming months via the website and project YouTube channel. We will continue to disseminate many more scientific and educational materials for researchers and members of the public in the coming weeks.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, under the Grant Agreement nº 871129. This document reflects only the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Implementation and Sustainability of Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure for the 21st Century

All original photographs on this newsletter are copyrighted by @ Institut Pasteur and 
@ BCCM/ULC Cyanobacteria collection 
©2020 ISMIRRI21 PROJECT. All rights reserved.

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