Open Forum of Sciences of Latin America and the Caribbean – CILAC from April 26 to 28, 2021

The third edition of the Open Forum of Sciences of Latin America and the Caribbean (CILAC) has kicked off today and will last until April 28. With more than 200 panelists, more than 100 activities and representation from more than 25 countries, CILAC promises to be once again an ideal space to discuss and define the future of science, technology and innovation (ICT) initiatives and policies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Forum, which is held every two years itinerantly in different cities of the region – this time in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires – promotes the meeting and cooperation between scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, science outreach centers, scientific journalists, etc., allowing the exchange of experiences and the definition of strategies in ICT at regional level.

CILAC 2021 has as its main axis the role of science as a vector of inclusion. Around this axis four central themes have been defined that will explore the possibilities of science to help create more inclusive societies in the region: artifical intelligence; digital economy; inclusive science and climate change.

CILAC 2021 will develop in a vitural way, accompanying face-to-face activities in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. To view the program and register, visit the CILAC Forum website.

Launch of EC HORIZON-INFRA-2021-EMERGENCY FUNDING: Research and Innovation vs. COVID

The European Commission has launched its first emergency funding under Horizon Europe. With a budget of 123 million euros, the calls included in this fund seek to complement the actions carried out so far in the fight against COVID-19, such as research and development of vaccines and treatments, providing the EC with knowledge and tools to prevent and respond to the impact of COVID.

The different calls, opened for the submition of proposals on April 15 and with a deadline of May 6, 2021, range from the development of fair and open data sharing instruments, vaccines & therapeutical clinical trials to research infrastructure services for rapid research responses to COVID-19.

Research infrastructures play an important role in this emergency fund through the call HORIZON-INFRA-2021-EMERGENCY-02: Research infrastructure services for rapid research responses to COVID-19 and other infectious disease epidemics. This call involves research infrastructures in the prevention and fight against COVID and expects to obtain proposals that enhance EU capacity to identify, characterise and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 virus variants of concern and future emerging pathogens, reinforce RI capacity to provide at scale and across the EU services to support excellent research, increase society’s long-term and consist problem-solving capacity and evidence-based policy making and provide new discoveries and knowledge breakthroughs enabled by access provision to the best and in some cases unique state-of-the-art RIs.

For more information on this call and submition of proposals, visit the webpage of EC funding & tender oportunities.

Latin America – Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures between June 15th and June 17th 2021

Latin America – Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures, organised by ResInfra and RI-VIS – Horizon 2020 funded project designed to increase the visibility of European research infrastructures (RIs) -, will take place between Tuesday, June 15th and Thursday, June 17th 2021. With speakers from across EU-LAC, the Latin America – Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures will deliver expert insight on how collaboration between these regions can benefit individual facilities and the overall research infrastructure community.

This virtual symposium will bring together delegates from Latin American and European research infrastructures (RIs), science policy organisations, researchers and research institutions from both regions with the aim of addressing the challenges and opportunities of biregional cooperation in the field of RI, and how the implementation of an effective roadmap can benefit both regions.

This dialogue is expected to enable effective identification of the challenges of cooperation and an advance the strengthening of bilateral relations. International cooperation in research, science and technology is a key element in addressing the global problems of the present and the future with greater efficiency and equity, and cooperation in RI plays a central role in this process. The Latin America – Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures will be a great opportunity to move forward on this path.

From ResInfra and RI-VIS we encourage you to participate in this important event, which will be free through identification. You can register here.

The first newsletter of ResInfra project is now available

The first newsletter of the project, which collects its latest news and progress, has already been sent! This newsletter reviews the first steps of the project, captures the role of research infrastructures against COVID-19 and reviews some of the activities carried out during 2020. It also includes a final section with the latest news and upcoming activities in the field of cooperation in RI.

It is available in Spanish and English and you can download it right here. Don’t miss it!

If you want to receive the next newsletters in your email, do not forget to subscribe by scrolling down on this website!

7th meeting of the EUROPEAN UNION-LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN WORKING GROUP ON RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES (WG RI)

The 7th meeting of EU-CELAC Working Group on Research Infrastructures (WG RI) took place online on 4th March 2021. The meeting, in which 13 countries from LAC and 11 from the EU were represented, was co-chaired by Adam Tyson, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, and Fernando Amestoy, Director of the Institute Polo Tecnológico de Pando, Uruguay.

The main outcomes of the meeting were discussions on the formulation of recommendations for future bi-regional cooperation within the framework of the EU-CELAC RI WG in line with its objectives, the presentation of the achievements of the 4 RI pilots within H2020 ResInfra Project, the presentation and discussion of the work plan for the WG beyond March 2021 and the presentation of the landscape of RIs in LAC and EU based on the Cooperation Workshops and Online Seminars organized by the WG.

In relation to the future of bi-regional cooperation, the delegates discussed the functioning and results of the WG in order to formulate recommendations. Some of the main conclusions of this exercise include the confirmation of the importance of the WG as a way to face the asymmetry between the regions regarding RIs, as well as some specific recommendations, such as the necessity of enhancing the relation with relevant Ministries of the Member Countries and the support to RI pilots of ResInfra project as a mean for finding new partners for international cooperation.

Also, among the future activities defined in the work plan beyond March 2021 to continue the political dialogue regarding RI, was the decision of give sustainability to the WG during 2021 through the ResInfra Project. This work plan also included the recommendation of coordination of activities with International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI), and support for the next JIRI SOM.

Last but not least, the Service Facility presented to the WG a short analysis of the landscape of RIs in LAC and EU: facts and figures received from the participants of the Cooperation Workshops coming from more than 120 RIs from EU and LAC registered. This information allowed WG to learn and draw conclusions about the differences and similarities of RIs in EU and LAC, and ways to improve cooperation between them. Also, participants of the webinars, case of Instruct ERIC stated that RIs from both regions have been matching a lot with good results, and was pointed out the need to collaborate in the area of the RI management.

As a conclusion, the assistants to the 7th CELAC RI WG meeting noted the importance of bi-regional cooperation platforms in RIs between EU and LAC, and the usefulness of activities such as workshops to improve coordination and contacts between them. In the closure the WG expressed its congratulations to the Service Facility for the extraordinary work done supporting the WG activities and thanked EU-LAC ResInfra project its compromise to support of the WG in this new Period until a new stable supporting structure is available.

International Symposium for the Construction of the Latin American Bioimaging Network on April 8

Latin America BioImaging community, led by Agencia Mexicana de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AMEXCID) and Agencia Urguaya de Cooperación Internacional (AUCI), will hold a major international online event on April 8 on ‘National perspectives and prospects for BioImaging from across the region’.

This symposium will involve the majority of BioImaging actors from the region, who will share their current and future perspectives for the development of regional collaboration in this field. It is hoped that this sharing can drive the building of the Latin American BioImaging Network, which is currently under construction.

The symposium will be mostly in Spanish, although the organizers will take into account the presence of the Brazilian community and English will be used when necessary.

The sharing of perspectives and ideas of actors across the region that will take place at this event is a central element for the fruitful construction of a network of transnational collaboration in this field.

 For more information and to register for the event, please visit the website of Latin America BioImaging community here.

RICAP: Supercomputing for fruitful EU-LAC collaboration

RICAP, Red Iberoamericana de Computación de Altas Prestaciones – HPC Iberian American Network is one of the four pilots of ResInfra project. RICAP provides strategic infrastructure in the field of high performance computing from an advanced architecture that includes both High Performance Computing (HPC) and High Throughput Computing (HTC). Co-funded by the Ibero-American Development Science and Technology Program (Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo – CYTED ), RICAP brings together several computer centres, various use case providers in different scientific and technological fields, one of the world’s largest supercomputing companies and an experimental Latin American consortium in the field of physics.

Since 2017, RICAP has provided free access to HPC resources to nearly 50 groups: over 10 million hours of CPU and more than 47 million GPU hours. RICAP has also participated in around 60 training material publications, 13 HPC schools, 18 theses (5 PhD, 5 MSc and 8 BSc), and has received more than 60 recognitions in published articles. RICAP already has 15 partners and all of them have provided active participation and sought new financing opportunities in the future; the consortium has also launched activities to ensure sustainability.

As part of ResInfra, RICAP has done specific work identifying potential EU and LAC partners and HPC best practices for LAC. In two deliverables available on the website, RICAP centres have identified and reported 26 actors for the HPC sustainability based in LAC and Europe and have reported best practices based on their context and SWOT analyses.

In 2021, RICAP is working on a third report that will define the roadmap for the coming years, as well as reports on sustainability success stories. As the COVID-19 situation improves, they also expect short-term scientific visits to take place. Visit their website to learn more about RICAP‘s activity and contributions!

Instruct-ERIC and EU-LAC Research Visits – University of Sao Paulo

Members of the Structural Biology team at the University of Sao Paulo benefitted from two trips to European research facilities, to the Diamond Synchrotron, Oxford, UK and to study NMR measurements at the University of Florence.

Diamond Light Source Instruct Centre UK

Richard Garrett, Humberto Pereira and Italo Cavini visited the European facilities as part of a call from Instruct-ERIC, designed to enhance collaboration between Latin American research groups and European Research Infrastructures.

The quality of the data collected meant that the trips contributed significantly to the understanding of septin polymerisation, with more analysis to be carried out for further investigation.

Richard Garratt commented, “Very few high-resolution spectrometers dedicated to biomolecular NMR are currently available in Brazil. As a result, a one-week measurement period can take several months to schedule due to the high demand. The INSTRUCT-ERIC call represented an excellent alternative in allowing us to visit CERM, the Instruct centre in Florence, significantly helping our research to move forward.”

The University of Florence Instruct Centre IT

“The proposal was submitted by the end of May 2019. Right after approval, the visit was very efficiently scheduled for November 2019. The communication with the hub and the specialists was agile and efficient and we were very impressed by the excellent technical support provided by the Centre.”

Instruct-ERIC, in the context of the EU-LAC ResInfra project, continues to encourage researchers from Latin America to explore the offering of structural biology facilities available through Instruct-ERIC.

Visit the Instruct-ERIC website for more information on all of our services, and to submit a proposal for your next project.

Instruct-ERIC Long-Term Collaboration with Latin America

Instruct-ERIC, as a partner of the EU-LAC ResInfra project, has been working to deliver a range of solutions and networking platforms, to help drive collaboration between Europe and Latin American research facilities.

This has ranged from symposia, seminars and workshops to internships, calls for access and eight Memoranda of Understanding signed by institutions across Latin America.

The aim of the collaboration has been to understand the requirements of facilities managers and researchers in Latin America countries, and to facilitate the link with European research infrastructures.

Several high profile publications delivered by researchers in Latin America have acknowledged the contribution of European research infrastructures in advancing their study. This is just an indication of the impact of cross-regional collaboration in enhancing science and understanding.

NMR facility at Instruct CZ Centre

Analysis of the impacts from these projects and collaborations have yielded positive results – networking in conjunction with multiple regions and research infrastructures is the most effective route to take. Whilst huge progress has been made in Latin American countries in terms of NMR, X-ray crystallography and advanced computational research techniques, it still lags behind EU nations in this regard. Bridging this gap through collaboration and partnerships is seen as essential to advancing science and understanding.

The upcoming Latin America – Europe Symposium on Research Infrastructures, hosted by EU-LAC ResInfra and RI-VIS (Instruct-ERIC a partner to both), will bring together research infrastructure managers, researchers and funding bodies from both regions. Following the publication of a bi-regional white paper, this symposium will cover the challenges that face RI’s in LAC countries, and how the implementation of an effective roadmap can benefit both regions.

The EU-CELAC online seminar on RI cooperation took place yesterday with the attendance of nearly a hundred people

Nearly a hundred people attended the online session organized by EU-CELAC WG on RI yesterday. The online seminar was an opportunity to learn about concrete experiences of formalizing collaborative relationships in research infrastructures, answering questions, pooling sensitivities and perceptions, and networking.

The session was opened by Jeroen van der Zalm, from the International Cooperation Service Facility of the European Commission, which presented the agenda and speakers and introduced the objectives of the session. The main objective, shared by speakers and attendees, was to learn concrete experiences to provide tools to generate stronger and more lasting RI collaborations, in particular in the case of the EU and CELAC. To this end, two actual experiences of formalizing collaboration in research infrastructures were presented: the case of Global BioImaging and the case of NCPs networks.

In the first presentation, Dr. Chris Wood from National Laboratory for Advanced Microscopy, UNAM, Mexico and Dr. Federica Paina, External Relations Manager Euro-BioImaging and GlobalBioImaging, brought to attendees the experience of formalizing collaboration between research infrastructures in the field of bioimaging. Bioimaging is a task that in itself often requires large investments in capital and belongs to a field of interaction between disciplines. This is why collaboration between different research centres and infrastructures had special potential.

Dra Federica Paina talked about the case of EuroImaging, a distributed research infrastructure on bioimaging with nodes across Europe (16 countries and international organisations). The key moment came in 2015, when an international bioimaging cooperation project funded under H2020 was initiated. This project resulted in Global BioImaging, an international network of bioimaging infrastructures and communities with nodes all over the world. The main objective of Global BioImaging is foster international cooperation and the common proposal of solutions, build capacity internationally and build a strong case that imaging tech and RI are key in the advance of science. With this objective, Global BioImaging promotes the exchange of experiencies, technical scientists and facility operators between its nodes, and provides training programs, staff exchange programs, thematic workshops and support with local funders.

Dr. Chris Wood shared the case of LNMA, UNAM, the first completely open-access microscopy facility, now expanded to three sites and that represents the Mexican bioimaging community in GBI. He highlighted that cooperation brought the realization that some issues and problems were near-universal, although they vary in scale and priority across the regions. Global cooperation has helped in find pathways to fight shared problems by solutions adapted to local conditions, and to strength the confidence in local bioimaging communities and in their ability to contribute to wider sector development. Now, an initiative to generate a regional bioimaging cooperation community at LAC is starting, Latin America Bioimaging. Latin America Bioimaging is just beginning its activities in 2021, and the introductory symposium will take place in March 2021.

The case of global bioimaging and the cooperation community it has created is an example of formalization of cooperation without going through legal bounds. The RI and communities that participate in GBI signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to work together establishing common principles. This MoU included the definition of a purpose, objectives, membership procedures, management board criteria and functioning, and a commitment on diversity and inclusion. As Dra. Federica Paina indicated, collaboration was the goal and, in the case of bioimaging research infrastructures, the GBI MoU was the tool to achieve that goal.

The second presentation brought the case of the Latin American and European networks of NCPs, by the speakers Claudia Romano, from Agencia Uruguaya Cooperación Internacional, AUCI, Uruguay, Coordinator of LAC NCP Network, and Daniele Gizzi, RIs NCP and deputy coordinator of the RICH network, Agency for the Promotion of European Research, APRE, Italy. The National Contact Points (NCPs) are individuals and institutions defined (and funded) by their governments to provide information about European Research Funding programs. They provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020.

In the case of Europe, the initiative RICH2020 has created an European Network of National Contact Points (NCPs) for Research Infrastructures in Horizon 2020, as Daniele Gizzi explained. In this case, the elected tool was also a MoU, that the participants in the project have signed. Nevertheless, the project has also the area of Extended NCPs, to those to want to take part in the project but haven’t signed the grant agreement. 

In the case of CELAC countries, as Claudia Romano explained, 18 CELAC countries signed a letter of interest to institutionalize the LAC NCP Netwrok in 2017. The main objectives of NCPs in CELAC countries are to inform and raise awareness on H2020 promotional activities between RIs; assist, advice and train to increase the participation of CELAC researchers and RIs in H2020 projects; contact and cooperate with other network support services; and build a network between researchers from EU and CELAC research infrastructures.

CELAC NCP network collaborates and takes part of RICH 2020 under extended NCP, looking to foster the cooperation among EU and CELAC NCPs and RIs. Also, RICH2020 webpage allows transnational and virtual access to a constantly-actualised section that collects the currently open transnational services and calls of H2020. The objectives of both CELAC and EU NCPs networks were the same: improve transnational cooperation between NCPs, improve skills and professionalization of NCPs, increase awareness across the research communities about the opportunities for access to RI offered by H2020, and seek complementarities.

Following the presentation of these two cases of collaboration involving research infrastructures of CELAC and EU, Inmaculada Figueroa, from Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain, was in charge of closing the event and making the final comments. After thanking the speakers for their interesting contributions and the interest that the assistance indicated, she highlighted some shared ideas. Those talked about the need of tools for formalization of the collaboration between RIs, such as the examples of the seminar. Formalization, Inmaculada said, provides sustainability, visibility and future prospect to collaborations that are positive for all its parts. Examples of the seminar show that this formalization does not necessarily have to be legally binding, as there are figures such as MoUs. The formalization of collaboration can bring stability to continue confronting the common challenges of RIs around the world. It is necessary to continue working to raise awareness among RIs and research communities worldwide about the benefits and tools for collaboration.