A Nordic network of imaging nodes, Bridging Nordic Microscopy Infrastructures (BNMI) has been awarded NOK 2.5 million from NordForsk (220,000 Euros), as part of the Nordic Research Infrastructure Hubs initiative. Euro-BioImaging’s Norwegian Node is part of this network, and spearheaded this initiative. The funding will contribute to the development of imaging courses, workshops and seminars. In addition, it will support mobility of Nordic users within BNMI and the rest of Europe. Project leader and Head of NorMIC-Oslo Facility, Oddmund Bakke, explains why this is important for the Nordic imaging community - and beyond.
In the last two decades, the development of imaging technologies have revolutionized research in biology and medicine, and currently emerge as one of the most important areas in life sciences research. These technologies and methods are well represented in Nordic countries, yet networking between these facilities can be reinforced. This is the overall objective of Bridging Nordic Microscopy Infrastructure (BNMI), a consortium that brings together biological and biomedical imaging facilities from five Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark) to strengthen the international competitiveness and facilitate the development of world-leading Nordic advanced microscopy environments.
Incentive to increase mobility and exchange
A new NordForsk grant endorses this objective, by giving BNMI the financial resources it needs to organize scientific and technical Symposia, workshops and knowledge-exchange seminars, as well as shadowing programs for facility staff and short-term scientific mobility grants for researchers among the participant Nordic countries. But the incentive this grant provides goes beyond the Nordic countries.
All of the countries in BNMI (with the exception of Iceland) are also members in the Euro-BioImaging European Research Infrastructure Consortium, leading the whole Europe working toward a better research, diagnostics and patient care.
What does the imaging community stand to gain from this grant?
As part of Euro-BioImaging, the countries demonstrate their commitment to open access to imaging instruments and sharing expertise, training opportunities and data management services. The NordForsk funds will be used to increase mobility between these facilities but can also be used to send Nordic researchers to Euro-BioImaging Nodes elsewhere in Europe to use specialised imaging equipment. In addition, the imaging courses will be open to students from outside the Nordic countries and invited instructors will potentially be from all over the world.
The advantage of an already organized research community
The NordForsk call was highly competitive, and BNMI was one of only 7 institutions to receive funding out of 33 that applied. Being part of a wider European Research Infrastructure community - Euro-BioImaging - meant that BNMI was strategically positioned to apply for the grant and increased the attractivity of the project. After all, the facilities it brings together are established infrastructures with extensive networks at a national level that provide a full spectrum of biological imaging tools that are easily accessible for both academic and industry users. The fact that several of these facilities were already organised and internationally evaluated as a result of belonging to Euro-BioImaging was a clear advantage.
Bringing together experts, users, knowledge and investments
Thanks to its ability to assemble a ‘critical mass’ of experts, users, knowledge and investments, the Bridging Nordic Microscopy Infrastructures Consortium (BNMI) will contribute to national, regional and European scientific and economic development. By offering scientists (transnational) access to imaging technologies that are not available at their home institutions, the BNMI will lift the limitations placed on scientific projects by the lack of local instruments and resources. International multi-disciplinary projects supported by BNMI will further increase the potential for scientific breakthroughs, potentially also in new research fields, that may not currently be represented by the national imaging community. By bringing researchers of different scientific backgrounds together with the facilities of the Nordic countries, BNMI will also support the building of interdisciplinary activities and collaborations.
Congratulations to Oddmund Bakke and his team for opening up a range of new opportunities for the Nordic imaging community and beyond.
BNMI: Participating countries and research facilities: