Prepared by: EMBRC HQ 
The present report covers the period from 15 March to 15 June 2021.  
Scope: to update the EMBRC General Assembly (GA) on the progress of main items of the work activity at the EMBRC-ERIC Headquarters.

General activities 

•    Guillaume Duspara joined EMBRC on 3 May, replacing Katharine Worley as Administrative and Financial Assistant.
•    EMBRC held its 8th General Assembly meeting, and the feedback provided was positive. Discussions focused on the future of EMBRC. 
•    EMBRC started to collaborate with OpenAIRE to track research outcomes and data generated by the ‘Research Infrastructure’ (RI). The online dashboard created by OpenAIRE will soon be available through our website.
•    Collaboration with Euromarine has been strengthened, with EMBRC joining the new governance structure along with DTU Aqua, CIIMAR, and ERINN Innovation.  Ms Alexandra Vasic is joining the governance structure in order to help with the development of this organisation.
•    EMBRC will adopt ECOTAXA, ‘a web application dedicated to the visual exploration and the taxonomic annotation of images that illustrate the beauty of planktonic biodiversity’. ECOTAXA will enhance EMBRC’s observation capabilities.
•    After several months of telework due to COVID, the EMBRC team returned to the office on 9 June 2021. We will use a rotating schedule to respect social distancing rules and ensure for a smooth return to the office.
•    The European Marine Omics Biodiversity Observation Network (EMO BON) was officially launched on 14 June, and will carry out the first sampling on 21 June. This is an important step in the development of the EMO BON project. 
•    Dr Pade will participate in the European Commission’s Innovation Days, which will take place on 23 and 24 June. This online event brings “together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe”. Dr Pade will present EMBRC and explain how we contribute to innovation and society.

Communication

•    EMBRC finalised its 2020 annual report, including publication online.
•    EMBRC’s first-ever newsletter was published on 18 May (and sent to all internal stakeholders as well as any external stakeholders who had signed up online).
•    The “marine model organism of the month” social media campaign was launched, aiming to raise awareness about diverse marine organisms, the tools and techniques to study them, and potential (commercial/industrial applications). The idea is to create interest in these organisms and to incite researchers to use our services (working with the featured marine organisms). We started the campaign in March with a piece on sea urchins; April was dedicated to sea lice; May to octopuses; and June to seahorses. The texts are written by one or more experts located within the EMBRC partner sites.
•    Website: the Communications Officer coordinated with staff to develop a page featuring the new ABS guideline documents and a second page featuring EMO BON. 
•    Sabrina Gaber is collaborating with Davide Di Cioccio to finalise the ARIA application system (verifying that technical specifications have been respected), and is supporting the developing of a publication dashboard (see Access section for more information).
•    The website has also been updated continuously, to include the latest news and events. 

Access

•    Arnaud Laroquette participated in a brainstorming session during the EU-ABS Networking event on 24 April.The objective was to prepare the EU ABS Networking event, which took place on 14 June. The event brought together different actors from across the EU to  discuss “capacity building for users”, gaps, and ways forward into the future.
•    Davide Di Cioccio participated in the kick-off meeting of the project on Sustainable Access to Atmospheric Research Facilities (ATMO-ACCESS) which took place from 10 to 12 May 2021. The objective was to present how access is organised at EMBRC and what we do to promote it and make it more visible and attractive.
•    Davide Di Cioccio shared EMBRC’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) manual with the Life Sciences Research Infrastructures (LS RI) working group. The group was created to  compare methods and tools that LS RIs are using. 
•    The online access platform ARIA (in use at INSTRUCT-ERIC and other RIs) is under testing at the HQ for its implementation. In its public version, it will make it possible to manage access requests sent to our network of nodes and sites. 
•    Early June, Arnaud Laroquette finalised the analysis of bacterial strains from the Laboratorium voor Microbiologie, Universiteit Gent (LMG) collection of EMBRC Belgium.

Governance meetings

•    Committee of Nodes (CoN) Meeting number 27 on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) was held online on 15 March.
−    EMBRC HQ participants: Dr Pade, Sidonie Gras, Arnaud Laroquette.
−    Aim: Expalin the work EMBRC is doing on ABS.
•    CoN meeting number 28 was held online on 29 April.
−    EMBRC HQ participants: Dr Pade, Sidonie Gras.
−    Aim: Discuss MyEMBRC Image and the European project.

Projects

•    RI-VIS training series on communications/marketing, 16 March-15 June.
−    EMBRC HQ and node participants: Rita Costa Abecasis, Sabrina Gaber, Nicolas Pade (introduction only), Susanna Pakkasmaa, Marleen Roelofs, Andrea Tarallo (note: all individuals from the EMBRC Communications Working Group were invited to participate). 
−    Aim: Weekly training sessions on various topics.
•    RI-VIS communications guidelines: Sabrina Gaber is currently coordinating with the EMBRC PT Communications Officer (Rita Costa Abecasis) to develop regional communications guidelines for Latin American and African stakeholders; for this purpose, they will be distributing an online survey, to be filled out by relevant regional stakeholders. They may also organise focus groups to complement the survey, as needed.
•    EBB final meeting, 23 March 2021, online.
−    Attendees: Arnaud Laroquette, Dr Pade.
−    Aim: Contribute to ensuring the practical, long-term transnational coordination of marine biobanks through the establishment of the European Blue Biobank.
•    EOSC-Life AGM, 25-26 March 2021, online.
−    Attendees: Sidonie Gras, Dr Pade.
−    Aim: The 2nd AGM consisted of work package updates from each WP as well as discussions around the achievements of the project since its kick-off.
•    E-infrastructure WG meeting number 12, 20 April, online.
−    Attendees: Sidonie Gras, Dr Pade.
−    Aim: To consolidate the EMO BON project.
•    EOSC-Life Annual Retreat, 17 -21 May, online.
−    Participant: Sidonie Gras.
•    AtlantECO: Key sampling protocols for the sequencing and imaging of ocean microbiomes,
21 May 2021, online. 
−    Particpant: Davide Di Cioccio.
−    Aim: Present a few key sampling protocols for the sequencing and imaging of ocean microbiomes in an effort to spread their use onboard third-party cruises and at marine stations bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
•    E-infrastructure WG meeting number 14, 25 May, online.  
−    Partipcant: Sidonie Gras.
−    Aim: Support an EOSC-ready, digitally skilled workforce (HORIZON-INFRA-2021-EOSC-01-01).
•    Publications of scientific outcomes of ASSEMBLE Plus in open access journals: survey launched. Preliminary results show that we are helping to spread the release of scientific outcomes in open access.

Recent events

•    EMDESK: Creating Horizon Europe Project Budget, 16 March, online. 
−    Participant: Sidonie Gras.
−    Aim: Provide guidelines on how to create a project budget and the factors to consider and calculate for it to fit into the project.
•    Common challenges and actions for Distributed RIs, 17-18 March, online.
−    Participants: Sidonie Gras, Davide Di Cioccio and Katharine Worley.
−    Aim : Explain challenges encountered by RIs and provide insight into ways to address them.
•    INTERACT Virtual Access Launch Event, 21 March, online.
−    Participant: Ioulia Santi.
−    Aim: Virtual Access Single - Entry Point demonstration. Discuss with emphasis on the inteoperability of data.
•    UNESCO Forum on Biodiversity: Our Planet, Our Future: 50 Years of MAB - "On the way to Kunming", 24 March, online.
−    Attendee: Ioulia Santi.
−    Aim: Discuss how biodiversity is threatened and how important it is for humanity. Organized by UNESCO's commitment to biodiversity.
•    International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems, 12-14 April, online.
−    Attendee: Ioulia Santi.
−    Scope (topics addressed): Data services and tools for ocean science. Marine Information and data management. Ocean obsearvation data.
•    2nd International Aquatic Mesocosm Research Symposium – From local processes to cross-domain interactions, 12-16 April, online.
−    Attendee: Ioulia Santi.
−    Aim: Learn about mesocosm facilities in Europe. Discuss collaborations between H2020 Research Infrastructures.
•    Plankton Genomics: Multidisciplinary data mining to assess plankton distribution, 23 April, online.
−    Attendee: Ioulia Santi.
−    Scope: Data products developed from TARA Oceans. 
•    “From the Ocean Science we have, to the one we need event”, 29 April, online.
−    Attendee: Sidonie Gras.
−    Aim: To assess the current gaps in investment and capacity in ocean science and to identify measures to minimise or even close these gaps during the Decade of the Ocean.
•    “Blue Growth in the Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges and opportunities” web conference in the context of CMBR project, 12-13 May, online.
−    Participants: Dr  Pade, Ioulia Santi.
−    Aim: Dr Pade presented EMBRC and its actions connected to Blue Growth. Insights were provided into the Eastern Mediterranean infrastructure landscape.
•    Communications Working Group (eighth) meeting, 18  May, online.
−    Participant:  Sabrina Gaber.
−    Aim: Discussion how to enhance communications and align activities with the nodes. 
•    Ocean Vision summit 2021, 18-21 May, online.
−    Participants: Davide Di Cioccio, Ioulia Santi.
−    Aim: To develop roadmaps for solving great ocean challenges including ocean-based solutions to climate, equitable coastal solutions strategies for resilience and adaptation, marine circular economies, ocean and human health, and how to transform research from academia into sustainable businesses.
•    EMBRC-ERIC General Assembly VIII, 19-20 May, online.
−    Participants: Dr Pade, Alexandra Vasic.
−    Aim: Review 2020 activities and the EMO BON sustainability plan, and discuss the future of EMBRC in preparation of the next 5-year budgetary cycle. 
•    Planning for Sustainability of Research Infrastructures, 25 May, online.
−    Participants: Davide Di Cioccio, Sidonie Gras, Dr Pade.
−    Scope: Discussion on the Sustainability of Research Infrastructures.
•    R.I. Logistica Event, 19-20 May, online.
−    Participant: Davide Di Cioccio.
−    Aim: Discuss how to promote and provide remote acess.
•    Discovering the FAIR Cookbook, 26 May, online.
−    Participant: Ioulia Santi.
−    Scope: FAIRplus H2020 project presented the online book prepared on FAIR data principles.
•    ENRIITC Your Knowledge #1 The ICO and ILO roles: 27 May, online. 
−    Participant: Sidonie Gras. 
−    Aim: Pave the way for future synergies and collaborations between these two crucial roles. Different ILOs and ICOs presented their views on their role and KPIs.
•    First international Ocean Decade Conference2 | High-Level Launch of the Ocean Decade on 1 June, online.
−    Particpant : Dr Pade. 
−    Aim : Multidisciplinary event series taking place from June 2021 to July 2022. Discussion “on overarching Ocean Decade themes: inclusivity, solutions-based ocean science, regional action, and resource mobilization”.  

Upcoming events 

•    EMBRC will be taking part in the MASTS webinar series in June, online.
•    RI-VIS Latin America - Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures, 15-17 June 2021, online. 
•    EU ABS Networking event, 14 June, to discuss the missing tools to help researchers comply with ABS.
•    OpCo meeting on 16 June to settle the last details before the first day of sampling for EMO BON.
•    The 1st sampling for EMO BON, 21 June.
•    EU Innovation Days, 23-24 June, online.

Thank you to all our collaborators and supporters of EMBRC projects.
The next HQ Update will be available by Friday 17 September 2021.

Sabrina Gaber
Communication Officer

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