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The Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI), based at the University of Valencia, acquires the legal status of a Consortium

  • Science Park
  • October 21st, 2022
Rosa Aznar
Rosa Aznar, coordinator of the Spanish node of MIRRI

The European Research Infrastructure on Microbial Resources (MIRRI), which has its telematic headquarters at the University of Valencia, has received the MIRRI-ERIC plaque after having acquired the legal status of a Consortium granted by the European Commission. Under the mission of preserving, researching and enhancing microbial resources and biodiversity at a pan-European level, MIRRI-ERIC – as the consortium is called – has now become a fully operational entity and a reference engine in the European Research Area.

MIRRI is a research infrastructure that brings together the main microbial resource centres in Europe and brings together more than 50 scientific institutions from eleven countries. The Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure provides information and access to quality microbial resources, as well as associated services, and ensures compliance with laws, ethical codes and biosafety. It has its headquarters for computer and telematic services at the University of Valencia, while its statutory headquarters resides at the Universidade do Minho (Braga, Portugal). In its preparatory phase it was financed with European funds.

Now established as a Consortium of European Research Infrastructures, MIRRI acquires legal personality under the name of MIRRI-ERIC and begins a new stage in the hands of five founding partners –Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium and Latvia– while waiting for countries such as Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania may join soon.

With this, MIRRI expands its functions and competences, assuming the responsibility of providing a collaborative work environment and maintaining a MIRRI information system (MIRRI-IS) whose objective is to provide users with a single point of access to microbial resources and to associated data, as well as different leading microbial services including digital ones. This new legal status, which grants autonomy to the infrastructure for its economic management, gives MIRRI the ability, among other things, to participate and even lead research projects together with other ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures). Through the services it offers its users and its collaboration policy both with public administrations and with other research infrastructures, MIRRI tries to contribute to the advancement of research and innovation in life sciences and biotechnology, as well as in favour of a sustainable, competitive and resilient bioeconomy.

The statutory headquarters of MIRRI-ERIC is located in Braga, while the University of Valencia hosts the computing platform that supports the collaborative work environment and the Spanish node of MIRRI.

The delivery of the MIRRI-ERIC plaque, which recognises the efficient trajectory of the Infrastructure and its contribution to the European Research Area, took place during the International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI 2022, Brno-Czech Republic).

The Full Professor of Microbiology and Ecology at the University of Valencia Rosa Aznar, president of the Forum of Interim National Coordinators of MIRRI and coordinator of the Spanish node, has expressed the commitment of the University of Valencia with MIRRI through the support and promotion of the Spanish Type Culture Collection (CECT), which is directed by the professor herself and which is located in the Science Park of the academic institution. “The ERIC plaque is a reward for the important progress made by MIRRI over the years, from its inclusion in the ESFRI roadmap in 2010 to the granting of Landmark status in 2021. The University of Valencia has been deeply committed to this effort and is proud to house such an important research infrastructure as MIRRI-ERIC”, added Rosa Aznar.

“Receiving the ERIC plaque marks an important moment for MIRRI, but also for Portugal, which hosts the statutory headquarters of an ERIC for the first time”, commented Marta Abrantes, delegate from Portugal at the MIRRI-ERIC Members’ Assembly, upon collecting the European plate. “This recognition highlights the role of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology in supporting research infrastructures that sustain advances and strengthen the ecosystem of science and innovation”, she added. For his part, Luís Soares, executive director of MIRRI, has placed the Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure in a new and promising phase as a meeting point between microbial biodiversity, biotechnology and bioeconomy.

The MIRRI-ERIC plaque will travel to Portugal to be unveiled during the inauguration ceremony of the new MIRRI-ERIC headquarters, which will soon take place at the University of Minho, in Braga.