The Institut des Sciences Biologiques (INSB) of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) has launched a call for projects to expand the user base of the services offered by French research infrastructures, including France-BioImaging. This grant, widely publicized by CNRS, could increase the visibility of our French Node, helping it to reach out to new user communities in France and beyond. Caroline Thiriet, External Affairs Manager of France-BioImaging, reflects on this opportunity, as France-BioImaging prepares to celebrate 10 years of existence.
“We are really excited about the INSB grant,” says Caroline Thiriet. “The purpose of this program is to facilitate and finance access to French research infrastructures in order to encourage teams which are not usual users of the facilities to benefit from the advanced techniques we offer for their research. This grant covers access to selected French infrastructures, travel/mission costs, as well as consumables, up to 10-30 K€ per project. It’s the first time our national funders provide financial support to help us attract users. It’s a very important step in the right direction for the French research infrastructure ecosystem - and could be a model for other countries to follow.”
Expanding the user base
“For this grant, priority will be given to national users. But international researchers who are in a collaboration with CNRS teams could also benefit,” she explains. “Interested researchers should submit a letter of intent by March 4th, 2022. The call will prioritize well advanced projects, close to finalization.”
In December 2022, France-BioImaging will celebrate its 10th year of existence as a national research infrastructure. The past ten years have seen the infrastructure evolve significantly, thanks to important national investments in state-of-the-art equipment, but also in highly qualified personnel and R & D. In parallel, France-BioImaging has worked closely with CNRS and other funders, to exchange on the challenges - but also the successes - of being a service-oriented research infrastructure. “We meet regularly with CNRS to report on our user numbers, our publications, but also how challenging it is to attract users from new communities. Up until now, our funders have provided what we need to invest in technologies and personnel. This call is a first very welcome sign that they are ready to help us expand our user base,” says Caroline.
“We believe that CNRS can give us the visibility we need outside of the imaging community – nationally and internationally. In addition, this grant will surely encourage multidisciplinary projects because of the different research infrastructures involved. By integrating services from different infrastructures that are also eligible in this call, we can address the grand societal challenges and perform truly excellent science.”
Expanding the infrastructure
France-BioImaging participated as a Node candidate in 2013, during Euro-BioImaging Preparatory Phase I, and became an official Euro-BioImaging Node with the launch of Euro-BioImaging ERIC in 2019. France-BioImaging is currently composed of 6 Nodes across France, offering open access to a wide range of highly advanced biological imaging expertise, & 1 transversal Node dedicated to image bioinformatics and image analysis services. In February 2022, France-BioImaging opened a “Call for New Nodes” to expand their infrastructure geographically but also with regards to the latest technologies and methods.
Supporting user access
France-BioImaging offers open access to state-of-the-art imaging facilities and provides additional financial support (access fee waiver) to external user projects. The highly qualified staff at France-BioImaging welcomes new user projects, and encourages scientists from any discipline and any country to apply. For more information: https://france-bioimaging.org/access/
About the INSB CNRS grant: