The Portuguese node of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC.PT) is a distributed research infrastructure with installations in Faro, Horta, Coimbra and Porto. It allows researchers to study marine biodiversity in its habitat, in tanks and in the laboratory with the latest technologies. EMBRC.PT provides services in marine sciences: access to marine ecosystems and biodiversity, microorganism collections and model organisms, research boats, scientific diving, omics, bioinformatics and chemistry platforms. It will also offer access to a variety of aquaria facilities, general laboratories, outdoor experimental facilities, shallow water hydrothermal vents and marine observatories for long term observations. The present project was designed to significantly improve the EMBRC.PT infrastructure and human resources so as to meet the excellence requirements of the European infrastructure and to promote research, training and knowledge transfer, so as to impact positively in the regional and national economy.
The fundamental concept of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) is the oceans as a source of largely unexplored biodiversity, as a source of food, products for medical and industrial applications and of models for experimentation with high potential, as exemplified by several Nobel prizes based on discoveries in marine organisms. The oceans are a capital for human kind that contributes strongly to societal grand challenges such as health, food security, energy, materials and global change and is used by a growing diversity of research. EMBRC.PT will be a distributed infrastructure between the cities of Faro, Coimbra, Leixões and Horta and will provide a platform to investigate the marine biodiversity in their habitat, in tanks and in the laboratory, using the most advanced technologies. National and international scientists (from academia and industry) will have access to facilities with a variety of tanks and mesocosms to experiment on marine organisms, boats, autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles and diving platforms, and will have access to unique ecosystems (e.g coastal sandy and rocky shores, lagoons and deep sea thermal vents), microorganism collections and biobanks, as well as laboratories and omics technologies (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) to carry out scientific research, exploration and conservation of marine biodiversity.
Portugal has defined the Blue Economy as a priority. To contribute to that priority, the EMBRC.PT is a main infrastructure that provides support for academia and industry in the form of resource provision, advanced facilities and instruments, and training. EMBRC.PT integrates in the European infrastructure with the same name and will have an important role at the
intersection between the Environmental and the Life Sciences and a privileged facilitator of interactions of the Portuguese scientific committee in the international arena. EMBRC.PT will facilitate multidisciplinarity and access to services and facilities at the frontier of knowledge and is directed to a wide spectrum of the Portuguese scientific community, in particular those that normally do not have access to marine facilities or marine organisms, from marine biology research, biomedicine and materials research. EMBRC.PT will promote standardization in the collection and analysis of data as well as mobility of scientists nationally and between member states, and between academia and industry. EMBRC.PT also acts as a training platform facilitating knowledge transfer directed at companies in biotechnology, aquaculture, biomedical engineering and others, including spin-off, creating added value to the economy of the regions. In addition, EMBRC.PT also plays an important role in advanced training for higher education students and outreach to the general public and schools.
This project aimed to establish the baseline conditions for the effective implementation and operation of the EMBRC.PT research infrastructure, in particular by:
- Upgrading and adapting buildings;
- Upgrading platforms and purchasing new instruments;
- Hiring staff.
For more information, visit www.embrc.pt