EBB project presented in their final event its main outcomes for the integrated management of European marine biobanks

After more than three years of work, the project celebrated, this last Tuesday, March 23, its closing event: the “Symposium on Biobanking and Marine Diversity”. The event gathered around 100 people from all over the world interested in EBB results and main outcomes.

The Director of the Marine Research Center (CIM) of the University of Vigo, Daniel Rey, opened the symposium and highlighted the importance of the European Blue Biobank project for the European marine stations and for the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) community. The CIM’s Director also complimented EBB partners for all the effort made during the project implementation, highlighting that this effort was recognized by the Atlantic Area Awards during the 5ª Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference, held in 2018.

Then, Jesús Souza Troncoso, EBB project leader at University of Vigo, gave special thanks to all the people involved in the project from its drafting to the present time.

Fiz da Costa, focused on the legacy that the EBB project leaves to the EMBRC community and to the entire marine science community showing, in a schematic way, the main results obtained in this project that will remain operational over time and will serve to improve the quality of marine stations, biobanks, culture collections and marine science researchers. His speech also served as an introduction of the main items that were presented at the symposium.

The EMBRC Executive Director, Nicolas Pade, presented EMBRC-ERIC, showing the main aims of this research infrastructure and he focused on the services provided. He also explained the important role of EMBRC (and its biological resources centers) in helping research to carry out their “due diligence” regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legislation.

This last point served as a springboard for one of the project’s main achievements: the creation of a best practices manual by EBB project that was endorsed by EMBRC. This manual, entitled “The EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. Recommendations to marine biological resources collections’ and users’ institutions”, was presented by Anne-Emmanuelle Kervella and Heidi Tillin from CNRS-Station Biologique de Roscoff and Marine Biological Association, respectively. Anne-Emmanuelle made a presentation introducing the main aspects of ABS regulations and the Nagoya Protocol. Then, Heidi Tillin, presented the structure of the EMBRC guide and focused on one of the technical annexes.

Heidi Tillin also presented the practical guide for users “Seek, keep & transfer: A step-by-step guide to ABS compliance when utilizing marine genetic resources”. This useful document provides end-users with the necessary information and steps for ABS compliance in their access to genetic resources.

Amber Scholz, from the DMSZ German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, explained to the audience the advantages and drawbacks for DMSZ collection of its register in the European register of collections.

The last talk was given by Ian Probert, who presented the management tools TRACK and TRACE. TRACK is a web-based database tool to manage data pertaining to marine biological resources provided from biobanks. TRACE, on the other hand, is a common online catalogue of marine biological resources available from EBB partners, which includes resources from culture collections, cultured macroorganisms, sample collections and wild-collected resources.

The recording of the event is now available on the UvigoTV channel.

Workshop: “How to Do Nagoya: access to marine genetic resources in compliance with ABS regulations”

Last Friday, January 29, as part of the agenda of Assemble Plus 2021 Conference, members of the EBB project, together with the ABS Working group of EMBRC, organized and held an online event where the main outputs and results of the EBB project were launched.

The EMBRC Executive Director, Nicolas Pade, introduced the workshop and its objectives. He explained the role of Biological Resources Centres (BRCs) in helping researchers to carry out their “due diligence” regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legislation. He also presented the work that EMBRC is doing to bring its BRCs up to date and in compliance with ABS regulations. Finally, he presented the members of the ABS Working group of EMBRC.

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to present two outputs developed in the frame of the EBB project.  Anne Emmanuelle Kervella, from CNRS and Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”, which provides recommendations to institutions with collections and users of marine biological resources to comply with the ABS legislation. She briefly introduced the Nagoya Protocol, the European ABS Regulation and the marine genetic resources in scope of these regulations. She highlighted that the implementation of all the requirements in institutions and biobanks produce an impact on the activities, policies and organization of the research institutions. Then, she provided an overview of the structure and main contents included in “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”.

Then, Ian Probert, from the Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented a step-by-step guide which is a practical to-do-list for individual scientists from academia or private sector conducting research on “marine genetic resources”. This document recommends users to follow a 6-step iterative process by answering some questions in an iterative way. The guide presents action and provides tips for each of the 6 steps.

A round of question-answers followed these presentations to close the first part of the workshop.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to showcase research projects that have taken into practice the indications appearing in the EBB/EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. First, Arnaud Larroquette, EMBRC ABS Compliance Officer, started a round table entitled “How to take all this into practice”, showing the results of an audit of the genetic resources held in EBB collections.

Then, three use cases of users of services and resources at marine biological stations were presented. Christian Galasso (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Daniel García Souto (CiMUS, University of Santiago de Compostela) and Fernando Reyes (Fundación Medina) shared their experiences as users of marine genetic resources from different European countries. The three short presentations were followed by a section with questions and answers, with participation of researchers, managers of research institutions and even ABS national focal point representatives.

Fiz da Costa from ECIMAT-Marine Research Center of the University of Vigo and Ibon Cancio from PiE-UPV/EHU of the University of Basque Country were the moderators of this successful event, with participation of more than 70 persons of different nationalities.

The video recording of this event is available on the EMBRC YouTube channel at this link.

Research & Biopiracy: An Intro to Nagoya Protocol & European Access & Benefit Sharing Regulations

On the 12th of November 2020, our colleague and EBB partner Heidi Tillin, from the Marine Biological Association (MBA), gave a virtual talk on the “Coffee Time Talk” seminar series organized by MBA about the Nagoya Protocol entitled: “Research & Biopiracy: An Intro to Nagoya Protocol & European Access & Benefit Sharing Regulations”.

She briefly introduced the legislative background of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol. Then, she explained what is Access and Benefit Sharing and the obligations imposed on the users of genetic resources or traditional knowledge in the European Union by the EU REG511/2014. She also showed to the audience the ABS Clearing House and how it can help final users to comply with the regulations associated with the Nagoya Protocol.

After this introduction, she focused on marine collections, and what are the requirements that the collections needs to demonstrate to become an EU registered collection. According to this, she explained that many organizations have developed guidelines for improving their practices. She exposed the advances made in the frame of EBB project and that a Handbook on implementation of Best Practices focused on biobanks and collections has been developed. This new document, created under the umbrella of EMBRC and its ABS working group, is divided in two parts: the first one introduces the legal framework and the second one includes technical guidelines and some useful annexes for their implementation.

The recording of the presentation is available here.

Business2Sea 2020

The 10th edition of Business2Sea organized by CETMAR Foundation and Fórum Oceano was held from the 16th to 20th of November 2020 in virtual format. The European Blue Biobank (EBB) project contributed to this event with an awareness workshop entitled “Do not be a biopirate: the European Blue biobank can help you use marine genetic resources legally”. Belén Martín Míguez, EBB coordinator, animated the workshop and Dr. Ibon Cancio from UPV/EHU (Spain) gave a first clarifying talk about how the importance of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework and Nagoya protocol for the conservation of global biodiversity, and the procedures that a user of marine genetic resources have to undertake for accessing them legally. Since regulations can differ between countries, Dr. Cancio showed in his presentation the central role of the Access and Benefit Sharing Clearing House (ABS-CH), a repository that facilitates the contact with the national focal points as well as pointing to the legal texts applicable in each country. Next, Fiz da Costa (CIM/UVigo, Spain), project manager of EBB project explained how the project had assisted more than 30 users to access marine genetic resources legally. Each use case has had its particularities: different provider country, different national regulations, different purpose of the experiments… Dr. da Costa finished his talk explaining the main lessons learnt from these use cases. A round table closed the workshop with users of genetic resources from different countries (Portugal, France and Spain) sharing their experiences in accessing and utilizing marine genetic resources. They highlighted some of the difficulties encountered and acknowledged EBB project contribution in helping them.

According to the polls launched during the workshop, half of the audience belonged to clusters/private sector and the other half to academic sector. The majority of the audience was not familiarized with all the steps needed for ABS compliance.

The presentations and videos of the workshop can be found here.

4th EBB General Assembly

EBB partnership met virtually during three days, on 8th, 27th and 28th October, to take stock of the progress made in the last year and plan the next and final actions before the project finishes on 15th April.

They were intense sessions, where reporting on work packages was followed by short presentations by the partners.

Many new deliverables, finalised or closed to be in their final form were presented: amongst them, 1) an on-line EBB catalogue, a centralised gateway that will provide access to culture collections and biobanks held at EBB institutions; 2) the Handbook on implementation of EBB Best Practices; 3) a Step-by-Step guide on ABS compliance for commercial users, a report on the EBB Use Cases… the list goes on and the next months will be focused on the capitalization of all those outputs, making sure they are uptaken by other initiatives or projects.

During the General Assembly, the legacy of the project was also discussed, in particular, with regard to the European Marine Biological Resource Centre, EMBRC, under which EBB project is running. EMBRC will be the main depository of the main outputs. In particular, the Handbook on implementation of EBB Best Practices has already been endorsed by EMBRC, and in the future it will be submitted to be part of the EU Registry of Best Practices. The EBB online catalogue will eventually become an EMBRC catalogue for collections and biobanks from EMBRC members all over Europe.

In addition to EBB partners directly contributing to the project, the General Assembly counted on a number of guests from reputed institutions such as SANGER Welcome and the Scottish Association of Marine Science. EMBRC was also represented by its executive director Nicolas Pade, and its ABS officer, Arnaud Laroquette.

You can find the agenda of the Assembly here.

Virtual Training on Quality Management Systems for culture collections and biobanks

A virtual Quality Management Systems (QMS) training workshop for culture collections and biobanks from EBB partnership took place last week in the framework of WP4 (“Development of common methodologies for the management of Marine Biobanks”). The training had 6 participants from three EBB partners (CIIMAR, NUIG and UPV/EHU) involved in managing collections in their respective institutions, and 2 trainers from the University of Sorbonne (Priscillia Gourvil, Roscoff marine station) and University of Vigo (Sergio González, ECIMAT marine station), who are the QMS managers at their respective stations.

The training was hosted and organised by the University of Vigo (EBB lead partner) with Belén Martín Míguez (EBB coordinator) acting as facilitator. It ran over three days structured into ‘wake-up talks’ followed by lectures on QMS matters and hands-on activities. Topics covered during the lectures included “Fundamentals of QMS”, “QMS requirements for culture collections and biobanks” and “QMS documentation”. Additional topics of interest for the management of the collections like the Nagoya protocol or Cryopreservation techniques were also presented by Fiz da Costa and Estefanía Paredes respectively. The hands-on activities allowed the participants to consolidate and put in practice the concepts acquired during the lectures with the support of the trainers.

Overall, the training was highly informative for the participants, and fostered the exchange of experiences and ideas in a relaxed atmosphere. The participants will be initiating a QMS implementation process for their respective collections and biobanks in the next months, and they can count on the advice and support of EBB QMS trainers to guide them through the process.

EBB is a project that operates under the umbrella of EMBRC (European Marine Biological Resource Centre) research infrastructure and the results of this training will be a contribution to it.

Workshop: “Utilización de recursos genéticos y Protocolo de Nagoya: marco legal y casos prácticos de aplicación en el ámbito marino”

The Marine Research Centre (CIM) of the University of Vigo, coordinator of the “European Blue Biobank” (EBB) project, together with the CETMAR Foundation, and especially with the Interreg Atlantic Area project entitled COCKLES organized a technical workshop to raise awareness of the existing obligations to access and use genetic resources derived from the Nagoya Protocol (2010) and associated regulations. In Spain, the Protocol is translated into the ByLaw 124/2017, which regulates the access and use of genetic resources from wild taxa. Finally, in Galicia, the Law 5/2019 on natural heritage and biodiversity reflects basic aspects for the application of the rule in this territory and the obligation of communication of the territorial administration to the national focal point.

The workshop was opened by Paloma Rueda (Director of CETMAR Foundation) and Belén Martín Míguez (coordinator of EBB). Alejandro Lago, project manager of the UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project, presented the international context about the Nagoya protocol. Noelia Vallejo Pedregal, Spanish National Focal Point for the Nagoya Protocol, from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, explained the legal framework in Spain. Fiz da Costa, project manager of EBB project, presented the Best Practice Guidelines developed by EBB partners and use cases implemented. The event was closed with a round table of debate with scientist, policy makers and industry, with the contribution of Angel F. Gonzalez (CSIC), representing the scientists; Fiz da Costa, Elisa Gago (Xunta de Galicia), representing the competent authority in Galicia; Noelia Vallejo, from the National Focal Point in Spain; Carlos Padilla, Biomar mt, a private company with experience in ABS regulations; and Rosa Fernández (CETMAR), acting as moderator.

The workshop was filmed by UVigoTV. Presentations were in Spanish and and videos are available in the following links:

  1. Intervención de Paloma Rueda. Directora de CETMAR, Bienvenida y presentación de la jornada Video 1 Bienvenida
  2. Intervención de Belén Martín. Responsable de la participación de la ECIMAT-UVigo en la Red Europea de Estaciones de Biología Marina (EMBRC-ERIC), Bienvenida y presentación de la jornada Video 2 Bienvenida Belén Martín
  3. El protocolo de Nagoya en el contexto de la protección de la biodiversidad global. Alejandro Lago, Programa de Desarrollo de Naciones Unidas, Instrumento Financiero Global, Naciones Unidas Video 3 Presentación Alejandro Lago
  4. Turno de preguntas Alejandro Lago. El protocolo de Nagoya en el contexto de la protección de la biodiversidad global. Video 4 Turno de preguntas Alejandro Lago
  5. Marco legislativo español y procesos de consulta. Noelia Vallejo, Punto Focal Nacional para el Protocolo de Nagoya. Jefa de Área de Estrategias y Planes de Conservación. Subdir. Gral. de Biodiversidad y Medio Natural, MITECO  Video 5 Presentación de Noelia Vallejo
  6. Proyecto EBB: Casos de estudio y Guía de buenas prácticas. Fiz da Costa, Gestor del Proyecto EBB, Centro de Investigación Mariña, Universidade de Vigo Video 6 Presentación Fiz da Costa
  7. Introducción a la mesa redonda: debate entre representantes de las administraciones, la industria y los centros de investigación. Moderadora Rosa Fernández Otero, Coordinadora del área de promoción y transferencia de tecnología, CETMAR Video 7 Presentación mesa redonda
  8. Mesa Redonda. Representante del ámbito científico. Ángel F. González González, Head of the Ecology and Marine Resources Department en Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, CSIC Video 8 Mesa redonda Ángel F. González González
  9. Mesa Redonda. Representante de la administración. Elsa Gago, Jefa del servicio de biodiversidad de la Dirección Xeral de Patrimonio Cultural de la Consellería de Cultura e Turismo, Xunta de Galicia Video 9 Mesa redonda Elsa Gago
  10. Mesa Redonda. Representante del ámbito empresarial. Carlos Padilla Martinez, Head of microalgae laboratory, BIOMAR MICROBIAL TECHNOLOGIES Video 10 Mesa redonda Carlos Padilla Martinez
  11. Turno de preguntas y debate entre representantes de las administraciones, la industria y los centros de investigación. Video 11 Debate
  12. Conclusiones y cierre. Rosa Fernández Otero, Coordinadora del área de promoción y transferencia de tecnología, CETMAR Video 12 Conclusiones y cierre

3rd General Assembly of EBB-project

The Plentzia Marine Station in the University of the Basque Country (PiE-UPV/EHU) hosted the 3rd general assembly of the EBB project with a first day meeting on the Plentzia Marine Station in Plentzia and a second day in the “Bizkaia Aretoa” of the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao. The advances within each work package were discussed and way ahead during the last year of the project decided.

Within the assembly we hosted the Mini-workshop on EBB Quality Management Systems and a discussion on ABS Best practice guidelines in which Anne Nivart of CETAF and the French national Natural History Musseum and Juan Luis Gomez Pinchetti of the Spanish Algae Bank participated as invited experts.

The meeting was reflected in a short publication in the magazine Europa Azul:

Agentes se reúnen en el País Vasco para coordinar el Biobanco Marino Europeo

Workshop: “Fostering development of micro-algal-based industries: legal and practical aspects”

Belén Martín Míguez, coordinator of EBB project, together with Maria José Chapela, coordinator of Enhance Microalgae project (both Interreg Atlantic Area), organised the workshop “Fostering development of micro-algalbased industries: legal and practical aspects” which was part of the event Business2Sea that gathers annually stakeholders from the marine realm. The workshop firsrconsidered legal frameworks that can hinder exploitation of micro-algae. In particular, Fiz da Costa, from EBB project offered a talk on Nagoya protocol implementation. In the second part, two representatives from Neoalgae and A4f companies presented their activities and perspectives on those legal frameworks and how they impact their businesses. The audience (which included some other members of EBB project such as Vitor Vasconcelos and Guilherme Scotta from CIIMAR) participated in the debate.