CORBEL - shared services for life-science logo

Deadline: 31 Aug 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono CORBEL - shared services for life-science

 Genetic Resources
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Information and Guidelines

CORBEL is a project funded by the European Commission, which aims to establish a collaborative and sustainable framework between different Biological and Medical Sciences Research Infrastructures (BMS RIs) on the ESFRI roadmap1. CORBEL seeks to harmonize the access to research infrastructures joining their various expertise across the range of life-science disciplines. This facilitated access is of particular relevance for advanced interdisciplinary research projects, where the integration of several services and technologies provides substantial added value. Through defined Access Tracks, the services of CORBEL partner institutes from participating research infrastructures will be made accessible to interested researchers. The intention is to provide access to, and improve transitions between research infrastructures. To identify appropriate research projects, the CORBEL partners launched an Open Call in 2016, addressing all life science researchers in academia and industry in Europe. Fueled by the great success of this call, a 2nd Open Call is launched on 26 March 2018.

With the guidelines described in this information sheet, interested researchers are provided with the necessary information to navigate the CORBEL application process and to successfully carry out their research project in the framework of this Open Call. Applicants may come from academia or industry (e.g. SMEs) with their home institutions based in EU Member States or Associated Countries as defined by the Horizon 2020 programme.


1. Accessible services

Successful applicants will have the unique opportunity to access multiple research infrastructures with just one application. Available services offered by more than 20 CORBEL partner institutes from 10 research infrastructures are grouped into 5 different Access Tracks:

  • ●  Genotype-to-Phenotype analysis

  • ●  Pharmacology for safer drugs and chemical products

  • ●  Structure-function analysis of large protein complexes

  • ●  Marine Metazoan Developmental Models

  • ●  Complex multimodal biomarker profiling

Each Access Track combines a certain portfolio of accessible technologies and services spanning a large range of biological and biomedical research areas. During the application process, applicants choose an Access Track, most suitable to their research needs. This choice provides a pre-selection of services provided by CORBEL partner institutes. However, there is also the option to request access to research infrastructures and service providers, that are not part of the respective Access Track. A detailed explanation of the 5 Access Tracks and exemplary service pipelines moving from one research infrastructure to another are shown on the CORBEL Open Call webpage. Further information on technologies and services offered by participating CORBEL partner institutes can be found under “Technologies and Services” and “Research Infrastructure Service Providers”.


2. Access Modalities

Access modalities vary between partner institutes and details regarding these modalities can be found under the description of the respective service provider. In general, access can be provided on- site or virtually and experiments are either performed by the users or by staff at the facility (or a combination thereof). In order to assist users with the navigation between research infrastructures, CORBEL Open Call managers will facilitate the communication between users and service providers and will help to bring the right contact persons together.


3. Selection of suitable user projects

Research projects are selected through an Open Call with a rolling deadline. The submission periods last two months, start on the 1st and end on the 30st/31st of the month. Users applying for access to the provided technologies and services need to specify at least two different research infrastructures they want to work with. Please note that you are required to discuss your project proposal and the service access modalities with the contact persons at the different partner institutes before you submit your proposal. This will contribute to the strength and success of your application. In the application process, you will be asked to confirm that prior discussions have taken place.

The proposal evaluation involves two review processes as indicated in Fig. 1:
● Scientific review: Two external scientific reviewers with a broad and interdisciplinary scientific background will review the proposals and select projects suitable for the Open Call.

This evaluation will be based on standardized guidelines that are published online.
● Technical review: The requested service providers will take the final decision on which projects to run based on prior discussion with the applicant, the technical feasibility of the project and their capacity.


Figure 1: CORBEL Open Call application process



The review process will be moderated by the CORBEL Open Call project managers, and the application will remain strictly confidential throughout the review process. Applicants will be informed about the decision within 6 – 8 weeks after the respective deadline has passed.
Only projects with positive technical evaluation for access to several service providers from at least two different research infrastructures will be selected.


4. Submission of application

The application is submitted via ARIA2, the access management system developed by Instruct. Applicants have to create an account or login with an already existing account. In a first step, applicants are asked to select one Access Track for their research project. Requesting access to at least two different research infrastructures is mandatory. One of them has to be nominated as the lead RI (e.g. the one that is accessed first or does most of the work, etc.). This will help to coordinate projects and harmonise communication between service providers. The application process is simple and includes general questions about the research project and the selection of service providers and requested technology(ies) and services. It also allows the exclusion of reviewers. The proposal can be saved at any step of the submission process to continue the submission at a later time point.
On occasion, reviewers may want to clarify some issues of the project proposal with the applicant. In this case, CORBEL Open Call project managers will receive the request for additional information from the reviewers and will contact the applicant. This allows the applicant to provide the requested additional information and thereby strengthen the project proposal.


5. Timeline

The 2nd CORBEL Open Call is launched March 2018 with a rolling deadline collecting applications at the 30st/31st of every 2nd month. The evaluation process will start directly after each deadline for application has passed. Applicants will receive a notification about the outcome of the evaluation process. As soon as the application has been accepted, applicants can start to arrange all matters with the requested service providers. These include for example necessary steps for project preparation, financial planning or time and duration of the proposed work.


6. Costs that are related to the use of services

In most cases, participating CORBEL institutes will cover costs for instrumentation and facility staff, whereas costs for consumables will have to be charged to the applicants’ home institution.. Therefore, applicants are advised to contact the requested facilities and estimate the costs in bilateral discussions. Accommodation and travel costs and expenses such as sample shipment will be reimbursed to a maximum amount of €5000 per project.


7. During and after the work with CORBEL partners

At the facilities and by the service providers, an effort will be made to serve the user in the best possible way. Remote and/or on-site users will receive hands-on training for the technology(ies) and services they will use, access to equipment and materials, databases and scientific expertise, and expert support with data collection, processing and analysis. Users will also be given guidance for the transport of materials, made aware of health and safety regulations and provided help with accommodation arrangements. After each visit to a partner institute is completed or the service provision is finished, users will be required to fill in a brief feedback form. Later, when the project is completed, users are expected to fill in a brief concluding report that includes information of a possible scientific publication. Filling in these post-access feedback forms is mandatory, as they are essential for CORBEL to optimize its services and to get statistics and information necessary for justifying continued operations. Failure to provide feedback may lead to the suspense of service provision for the respective project within CORBEL.


8. Publication

Data resulting from access to CORBEL services should be intended for publication by the users, with the exception of data for SMEs. Support received by the CORBEL project must be clearly stated in the acknowledgement section of a publication with the following sentence: “This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654248”. Relevant research data must be made available within one year after publication of the research results, or within five years after the service completion, whichever comes first, unless otherwise agreed or if the user has specific other obligations (e.g. towards a funding body).


9. Contact persons and responsibilities

For interested researchers there are several ways to get in contact with CORBEL, and to find missing information. First contact can be established with the project managers of this Open Call, who administer general organisational issues. Questions regarding the fifth available Access Tracks specifically can be addressed to the five Access Track leaders. Please consult the following Fig. 2 for names and email addresses of the respective contact persons.

Figure 2: Contact persons for the CORBEL Open Call


To inquire about services offered in more detail, applicants should contact the expert staff at the respective CORBEL partner institute. The facility staff welcomes applicants, who would like to discuss their project specifications and requirements via phone or Skype conferences. Please consult the website for the appropriate contact person at the facility.


10. Internal CORBEL organization and additional resources

The 2nd CORBEL Open Call is one of several activities run by CORBEL and researchers can also benefit in various other ways. There are nine work packages (WPs) in CORBEL, among which the different tasks to run this project are distributed. The 2nd Open Call is mainly organized by WP4 and WP3, but other WPs provide substantial support and contribute their expertise, making a complex and multifaceted endeavor like this feasible. The different WPs are laid out in Fig. 3. For more information regarding the specific tasks administered by each individual WP team, please consult the CORBEL webpage. In case prospective users are interested in additional support, such as e.g. legal support for the development of a material transfer agreement or the establishment of an ontology, they are advised to contact the WP4 project managers, who can help to establish the contact to the respective responsible person in CORBEL.

Public link:   Only for registered users

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