Strategic Goals

With its Strategic Plan for 2024-2028, Euro-BioImaging enters a new phase of its development, aiming to significantly influence the future of imaging and facilitate access to imaging technology, data and expertise. Over the past four years, Euro-BioImaging has made significant progress towards building an internationally recognised, pre-eminent, open-access imaging research infrastructure. This 2024–2028 strategic plan outlines the vision for the continued contributions of Euro-BioImaging to the life sciences through six strategic goals and their planned implementation.

This page provides an overview of Euro-BioImaging's six strategic goals for 2024-2028. The entire Strategic Plan can be downloaded here, and the summary can be downloaded here. Below, you can access the embedded version of the entire Strategic Plan.

Strategic goal 1: Provide cutting-edge imaging services, contribute to scientific excellence and promote Open Science

> Our aim

To be increasingly attractive to users, Euro-BioImaging aims to ensure the competitiveness of its imaging technology portfolio and will continue to adapt its services regularly to evaluate and adapt its services regularly based on user feedback, research into advanced imaging technologies, and data processing and analysis. The approach to meeting this first strategic goal is divided into three essential tasks:

  • Advancing the services at Euro-BioImaging by continually including innovative imaging technologies
  • Providing FAIR image data services
  • Offering a broad training portfolio for users and staff

> How do we plan to achieve it? 

Euro-BioImaging's readiness relies on its capacity to adapt and update its portfolio of services and technologies to upcoming scientific needs. We plan to continuously assess upcoming innovations, technologies, and methods that fit the needs of our Nodes and user communities. The feedback loops we have built during the last three years will be determinant in adopting innovations and quickly filtering out non-anymore-relevant technologies or methods. 

On the data front, we will reinforce and scale up Euro-BioImaging capabilities to meet the upcoming growth in image data generation and storage and support our stakeholder's needs. We will maintain the high-quality service we have been providing since the creation of the infrastructure while establishing new guidelines, knowledge transfer, stewardship and processes to support FAIRness, enhance FAIRification of our data, and increase expertise among our staff, our Nodes and the imaging community. We will continue developing our efforts towards cloud-compatible and machine-ready data formats to match ever-growing imaging data needs. 

Our position as a European Landmark research infrastructure gives us the unique capacity to connect and interact with various stakeholders. Our Nodes and existing communities are fundamental to us: we aim to strengthen our relations with these two critical groups through dedicated events, projects and initiatives and reinforce bidirectional collaboration. We will also increase contact points with our Nodes to enhance dialogue, feedback, and interaction by implementing new expert groups to increase user access. We want these efforts to generate benefits and increase funding opportunities for the Nodes and Euro-BioImaging. Relying on our central position as an imaging research infrastructure, we also aim to widen our community of users by offering remote access tailored to cover the unmatched needs of the European Research Area.  

We plan to boost our staff skills and knowledge to support our Nodes and users better. Through managerial and technical support training, we aim to continually update our knowledge on crucial issues related to topics as diverse as governance or AI. We strive to launch and coordinate a modular system of advanced, feedback-based training and a coordinated career path to ensure that core facility staff can advance their knowledge and careers. In addition, we will establish a job-shadowing programme across Nodes in Europe and beyond to increase capacity in facility management and operations.

Strategic goal 2: Engage with national and international stakeholder networks and increase synergy with other research infrastructures

> Our aim

Maintaining, strengthening, and enlarging our stakeholder network is fundamental to Euro-BioImaging's success. As a pan-European research infrastructure, international collaboration and partnerships to advance the field of biological and biomedical imaging are paramount.

> How we plan to achieve it

Euro-BioImaging will continue to build solid and sustainable partnerships with existing member states and funding agencies and engage with key stakeholders to secure the infrastructure's long-term development and growth. We are in dialogue with potential new members, especially countries in the European widening area. Through dedicated outreach channels, we aim to better engage with the European Commission, other research infrastructures, and initiatives part of the Framework Programme. We will explore funding opportunities for member states by mapping uncharted areas of collaboration with science-focused European agencies.

We strive to enhance synergies, facilitate contact points, create collaboration opportunities between innovation needs and research capacity in Europe, and maximise our impact on society. Through projects and initiatives, we work closely with other ERICs and national and international organisations to facilitate research through user access, share knowledge, resources and expertise, and identify opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Euro-BioImaging fosters a diverse and inclusive scientific community, with particular efforts targeted towards low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to tackle challenges related to access to equipment and opportunities. We empower research communities in LMICs by assisting in developing research infrastructure and initiating intercontinental collaborations critical for global scientific exchanges and growth. Our international engagement with Global BioImaging has supported collaborative launches in Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America and the USA. 

To strengthen these external relationships, we implemented the Euro-BioImaging Scientific Ambassadors programme. 

Strategic goal 3: Increase awareness and impact in the scientific community at the global level

> Our aim

Strengthening recognition, awareness, and outreach is essential for increasing the understanding of imaging technologies' role in driving multidisciplinary research and innovation. This outreach is critical to helping Euro-BioImaging support and grow its user base, make the generated impact visible, and ensure a sustainable future. Highlighting the impact of research and technology development conducted at Euro-BioImaging will increase recognition and create more career development opportunities, collaboration, and funding. For member states, this strategic goal seeks to increase the value and impact of their investment in Euro-BioImaging. 

> How we plan to achieve it

Euro-BioImaging will enhance engagement with science policy initiatives and relevant communities, including the general public, through appropriate channels to increase brand recognition and awareness. We plan to increase the sharing of success stories and the impact of research through existing communication channels. We will also engage with stakeholders to provide opportunities for meetups and feedback through virtual events and expert groups, participation in Horizon Europe projects, and close collaboration with industry partners. We will allocate dedicated resources at the Hub level to support these efforts. 

A strong, coordinated outreach and awareness campaign will help us to reinforce and consolidate a robust, engaged and influential community supporting Euro-BioImaging's goals. We will regularly engage with our stakeholders to share achievements and facilitate scientific exchanges to support this strategy.

Strategic goal 4: Strengthen the organisation and the community

> Our aim

The governance structure of Euro-BioImaging has been highly efficient and will be further utilised to strengthen the organisation and broader community, guided by feedback from stakeholders. 

> How we plan to achieve it

In November 2022, the Euro-BioImaging Board meeting and the Panel of Nodes meeting were held back-to-back and in person for the first time, facilitating essential discussions. Based on subsequent suggestions from key stakeholders, we proposed a strategy to increase opportunities for discussions and exchange to all five Euro-BioIMaging governance bodies. This included organising at least one in-person and one virtual Hub meeting annually to provide core staff with skill improvement opportunities. 

Euro-BioImaging Hub combines a central management with the integration of a diverse community, part of a multidisciplinary team. The Hub is a crucial strength for the organisation, where the staff maximise their skillset and expertise to support Euro-BioImaging goals and missions. 

Euro-BioImaging aims to evolve its Hub team structures to improve communication, collaboration and cohesion. To ensure effective resource delegation, the Hub regularly assesses standard operating procedures, explores ways to streamline processes, and attempts to maximise impact. Our goal is to increase the number of staff exchanges across the three Hub sites in Finland, Italy and the EMBL to strengthen staff collaboration and improve workflow efficiency. This cross-collaboration will be particularly beneficial considering the unique profile of each Hub site. Staff development will also be supported by training in professional skills and opportunities for team building. 

Clear policies and processes have been implemented for resource allocation and tracking for administration and financial management, including human resource management and legal administration. Given that the organisation has grown quickly, the framework of the financial management systems, such as accounting software or budget tracking tools, will need to be adapted to support the additional efforts. This will require decisions regarding recruiting additional staff versus liaising with consultants with expertise in these areas.

Euro-BioImaging is committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, which is particularly important considering the organisation's global impact. Fair and open access to facilities will be guaranteed for all, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity or other factors, and a commitment to data privacy and confidentiality will be established. Any barriers, biases or discrimination that may limit access to services and the opportunities they provide will be promptly addressed. Guidance will also be issued in the Euro-BioImaging equality plan on authorship and acknowledgement in publications to ensure proper recognition of contributions and fair attribution of credit.

Team well-being is a crucial aspect of Euro-BioImaging, and the organisation seeks to ensure that staff feel supported, valued and respected. Strategies and initiatives will be developed to promote well-being and will be examined by regular evaluation of team structure, work culture and practices, opportunities for professional development, and work-life balance. Staff will also have access to mental health support and resources, including counselling and therapy, as well as training programmes to promote mental and emotional resilience. By prioritising team well-being, Euro-BioImaging strives to cultivate a productive, engaged and committed workforce that is well-equipped to deliver high-quality services and achieve sustainability goals.

Euro-BioImaging is significantly invested in reducing its environmental impact and implementing sustainability measures to underpin the move towards greener practices in Europe. This will include contributing to a greener, more environmentally focused future by assessing current practices to establish a baseline understanding of environmental impact. This will enable Euro-BioImaging to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations for greener practices at core facilities across Europe and expand remote access to services, guided by the outcomes from the eRImote project. Staff will thus be equipped with the knowledge and skills to adopt more environmentally friendly technologies and methodologies.

Strategic goal 5: Promote scientific innovation and transfer of technical knowledge, and support strong industry partnerships

> Our aim

European industries face significant challenges in an increasingly complex and uncertain environment as they strive to maintain global competitiveness, deliver innovative solutions, and meet ecological, economic and societal demands. Through versatile service offerings for commercial users and collaboration with world-renowned imaging technology companies part of its Industry Board, Euro-BioImaging helps to strengthen Europe's knowledge base by promoting cutting-edge research, fostering innovation and supporting technology transfer. Over the next five years, Euro-BioImaging aims to broaden its reach by increasing the number of commercial users, in particular those from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. 

> How we plan to achieve it

Maximising the impact of new and innovative technologies requires a bespoke, open-access infrastructure suitable to support a diverse stakeholder network. For example, Small and Medium Enterprises, a type of Euro-BioImaging users, are likely to benefit from simple, central access procedures, consultations with technical experts and a fee-for-service model that provides fast and easy access to relevant services. Conversely, the broader community of users, facility staff, academic technology developers and representatives from instrument and tool manufacturers will thrive with more general, joint activities and exchanges. Outreach strategies reflecting the range of services offered by Euro-BioImaging will promote strong industry partnerships and, at the same time, will improve the visibility of opportunities for networking and cross-collaboration.

For us, it is essential to monitor technological advancements that could disrupt the imaging industry or provide opportunities for innovation. From that perspective, Euro-BioImanging Nodes offers a unique opportunity to develop an inherently collaborative infrastructure with multidisciplinary research environments. Thanks to that structure, Euro-BioImaging can act as a primary service provider for most imaging needs, with the support of a portfolio of joint activities at Node-level that would collate information on the most frequently used services and develop recommendations for working with the industry. Through the Euro-BioImaging Industry Board, members benefit from facilitated access to international imaging communities, can tap into the latest trends in imaging-associated research and gain information on opportunities for public-private collaborations. 

Euro-BioImaging will support innovation by providing a reliable and trustworthy environment for users, in coordination with the Nodes regarding their legal and intellectual property processes and rules. 

In addition to consulting with industry experts during early development phases and clearly defined innovation cycles, Euro-BioImaging will fully define its range of services as part of a targeted outreach strategy. This will be achieved via projects such as European Union InfraTech and IMAGINE and will establish Euro-BioImaging as a viable long-term partner for innovation.

Strategic goal 6: Ensure that Euro-BioImaging remains at the forefront of scientific research and technological development

> Our aim

To ensure longevity, Euro-BioImaging continually engages with prospective new member states and aims to ensure that services and technologies remain cutting-edge and in line with technological advances. In a dynamic research landscape, it is crucial for Euro-BioImaging to focus on the rapidly changing needs of users to ensure that their demands and needs are met. 

> How we plan to achieve it

Developing this strategic goal will be supported by extensive discussion with essential stakeholders, which is critical to ensuring Euro-BioImaging's long-term sustainability. We will seek feedback from users and staff during regular strategic planning sessions and connect with closely related infrastructures to enhance and add value to service offerings to support continued growth and maintain its position as a landmark research infrastructure. Euro-BioImaging will continue to apply for international, European and national funding opportunities to establish new facilities and sites with unique expertise and technologies.

Euro-BioImaging will continue dialogue with prospective member states to increase its operational scale and meet the growing needs of user communities. Further expansion of the user network will focus on increasing the uptake of services by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and extending the network of international partners, particularly in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America.

To ensure consistent delivery of quality services across the Nodes, Euro-BioImaging will develop a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the Nodes' performance and allow for optimisation. To ensure sustainable growth, Euro-BioImaging will carefully examine user needs and requests for its service offerings and adapt services as required. This will require high-level training opportunities for staff to prepare the next generation of Nodes and to support imaging communities in less research-intense regions.

Euro-BioImaging also continues to develop high-level training opportunities for various stakeholders, actively working to support the development, evaluation, and adoption of new imaging technologies. In the next five years, engaging closely with industries and small and medium enterprises will be essential to promote Euro-BioImaging's services, guarantee user loyalty, and support growth and development.