Euro-BioImaging started in 2010 as FP7-funded ESFRI infrastructure project run by the scientific imaging community that discussed and tested the best ways to establish the pan-European imaging infrastructure. Using this bottom-up approach, European imaging scientists have been continuously involved in the project and during Preparatory Phase I (2010-2014) they commonly prepared recommendations for the European countries on how to construct the major imaging infrastructure which can provide services to scientists in the most useful way. These plans have been published in the Euro-BioImaging Business Plan in 2014, which is summing up these recommendations of the imaging community in Europe.
During the preparatory phase, over 3000 individual researchers and 220 institutions from 25 countries provided input and followed Euro-BioImaging development. Euro-BioImaging received 71 Expressions of Interest to establish future Euro-BioImaging Nodes, over 2200 letters of researchers proposing scientific problems they would study at the Nodes and letters of support from over 50 imaging companies that are interested in Euro-BioImaging’s establishment. Regular Stakeholders meetings, national meetings and satellite get-togethers at ELMI and FOM were hotspots for community building, interaction and involvement. During this time, national imaging communities in 25 countries got established, which played a major role in the coordination of national investments in imaging and establishment of connections between Euro-BioImaging and national governmental representatives.
In 2014, official representatives of European countries’ and EMBL’s governments took over the leadership in Euro-BioImaging. From this moment on, Euro-BioImaging was handed over from the hands of the scientific community to the inter-governmental level. Institutes, researchers and communities that are interested in participation in Euro-BioImaging should now contact their national delegates in the Euro-BioImaging Interim Board (see below) and representatives of national imaging communities, in order to get involved in the developments on their national level, which are the basis for their integration in the infrastructure.
By May 2015, 14 countries and EMBL have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards implementation of the infrastructure. They have established the Euro-BioImaging Interim Board (IB), the main decision making body of Euro-BioImaging, consisting of delegates of all MoU signatories, which are representing their national ministries, funding bodies and scientific communities. IB delegates are now working together on all topics required for the establishment of Euro-BioImaging: its governance, financial plans, recruitment strategies, statutes, selection and construction of Euro-BioImaging Hub and Nodes (more about Hub and Nodes can be found here).
Other countries are cordially invited to join the Interim Board at any time, either as member or as observer (see contacts of the IB here).
Euro-BioImaging will start providing its services to researchers as soon as the 1st generation of Euro-BioImaging Nodes is officially established and Euro-BioImaging is officially launched having its own legal personality “EuBI-ERIC”. These Nodes will now be selected from the 71 Nodes that applied in the 1st Open Call of the preparatory phase. For imaging facilities that are interested in joining Euro-BioImaging as Nodes, new calls for Nodes will be organized after the 1st generation of Nodes is up and running.