After five successful years, the EU Horizon 2020-funded project, ASSEMBLE Plus (Association of European Marine Biological Laboratories Expanded) has closed and the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) will ensure the continuation of its legacy.
Launched in 2017, ASSEMBLE Plus provided scientists from academia, industry and policy with access to over 30 marine installations in 16 countries. Through specific initiatives such as the Transnational Access Programme, Networking Activities and Joint Research Activities (JRAs), ASSEMBLE Plus stimulated European excellence in fundamental and applied research in marine biology and ecology. Research outputs supported by ASSEMBLE Plus have improved European knowledge and technology bases for applications in blue economy, policy and education.
Key achievements of ASSEMBLE Plus include:
- Supporting over 500 international researchers from 46 different countries with their projects, while also enabling new strands of research by funding pilot projects.
- Introducing scientists to new facilities as well as offering training, networking and collaboration opportunities for hundreds of early career scientists.
- Supporting two initiatives for genomic observations: Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) and Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures - Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (ARMS-MBON).
- Developing open access protocols for genetic manipulation and cryopreservation of marine organisms, camera-based underwater surveying techniques, and novel experimental platforms.
- Producing open access data to support further research and advocating for the importance of applying FAIR data principles to all marine research.
In parallel to ASSEMBLE Plus (2017-2022) and the previous, FP7-funded ASSEMBLE project (2009-2014), EMBRC was developed as a long-term research infrastructure to support marine biological research. Today, EMBRC is Europe’s leading research infrastructure for marine biological resources with a mission to support marine biological and ecological research as well as innovation. EMBRC also works to raise awareness of marine biological research, its application, and relevance for society and policy. EMBRC will ensure that the legacy of ASSEMBLE Plus will continue beyond the project, specifically:
- Researchers will still be able to access ASSEMBLE Plus facilities via the EMBRC network.
- Platforms and protocols developed during ASSEMBLE Plus are available on the EMBRC’s Service Catalogue.
- Genomic observation initiatives will continue: ARMS-MBON will be included in the European Marine Omics Biodiversity Observation Network (EMO BON) and OSD will become All Atlantic Sampling Day as part of the AtlantEco project.
Dr Nicolas Pade, ASSEMBLE Plus Scientific Coordinator and Executive Director of EMBRC said,
“I am delighted that EMBRC will be able to continue the important work that ASSEMBLE Plus has started. Collaboration is the key to successful research. Sharing ideas, working with people from different disciplines and visiting other institutions and facilities are all vital tools that will help us to understand and tackle the problems facing our marine environments. We look forward to working with the ASSEMBLE Plus alumni and community for many years to come!”
For more information about the outputs and legacy of ASSEMBLE Plus,
please visit assembleplus.eu or download the final project newsletter.
Article by: Avril Hanbidge, ERINN Innovation