European Research Infrastructures, many of them organised as ERICs, are essential resource to the researchers studying the many aspects of the pandemics. Addressing issues such as development of the vaccine and medicines, insights into the social challenges, and the impact on environment, the ERICs support researchers to find solutions to the current crisis. Many of the ERICs have responded to the challenge at hand by setting up a dedicated service, which we are highlighted here.

Within the ERIC landscape, the following ERICs have set up or are currently planning various initiatives in response to the coronavirus outbreak:

  • BBMRI-ERIC provides resources from biobanks across Europe. Its Directory of 600+ biobanks has added new filters so you can quickly find COVID-ready samples and datasets, facilities and more for your research. BBMRI also expanded its Directory to biobanks outside of its Member States if they offer COVID-19-related samples and data. In addition, BBMRI has resources related to Quality Management and Ethical, Legal and Societal (ELSI) considerations. (Details about BBMRI’s COVID-19 service).
  • CERIC-ERIC has set up a dedicated Fast Track access to a selected number of instruments to facilitate research related to COVID-19. Researchers can apply for the Fast Track without undergoing a regular evaluation procedure. If approved, the research project will be scheduled within a month from the submission of the proposal, based on the evaluation of the project’s feasibility by the facility where measurements will be performed.(Details about CERIC’s COVID-19 service).
  • CESSDA-ERIC – Access to COVID-19 datasets in the CESSDA data catalogue. The CESSDA Data Catalogue is a platform for researchers wanting to find and reuse social science and humanities research data. It contains metadata of surveys in the holdings of CESSDA’s Service Providers. The data files themselves are available through each individual data archive. All COVID-19-related metadata will be harvested to the Data Catalogue as they become available to CESSDA Service Providers. (Details about CESSDA’s COVID-19 service).
  • CLARIN-ERIC supports the SSH community at large in the analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and development, and in particular enables studying the socio-cultural impact by providing access to relevant data, tools and services, illustrated by the following: 
    • ParlaMint: this project aims at the creation and curation of comparable corpora of parliamentary data from a wide range of countries and in multiple language with a particular focus on data that can help studying public debate on COVID-19 from a comparative perspective.
    • MLIA: the Community Evaluation Effort for MultiLingual Information Access on COVID-19 (MLIA) brings together researchers from various fields to streamline and accelerate the development of multilingual text and data mining for a range of information sources regarding COVID-19 that could be relevant for and used by the general public.
    • Detection of disinformation:  CLARIN started organising a series of virtual hackathons on the detection of disinformation on COVID-19 in mainstream textual news channels and social media.
  • DARIAH-ERIC maintains a set of registries essential for humanities research and brokers access to tools and services via its distributed structure and in-kind contribution model. This allows the long-term perspective on the social and cultural shifts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, DARIAH has funded nine projects with an overall budget of c.90K euros under its bi-annual DARIAH Theme funding scheme that will seek specific responses to the pandemic that engage arts and humanities sources, approaches and insight. One of the areas of emphasis in this scheme is on how DARIAH will collect, curate, preserve and interpret the heterogenous record of the experience of life and work under the pandemic. (Check the details of the winning projects here). Finally, a list of useful resources, leveraging on DARIAH’s expertise in open science, virtual tools and distributed research practices to lead by example, and assist others to adapt to the changed circumstances for research, is compiled and can be found here. (Details about DARIAH’s COVID-19 service).
  • EATRIS-ERIC – Fast access to services and facilities: EATRIS provides key services for researchers and/or research teams (academic or industrial) that are developing a potential therapy, vaccine or tool for use against the current COVID-19 pandemic, with secured funding. Find here EATRIS Members’ COVID-19 activities and services. (Details about EATRIS’s COVID-19 service).
  • ECRIN-ERIC provides support and operational services to the planning, design and management of multinational clinical trials in Europe. ECRIN is currently supporting several multinational COVID-19 clinical trials.  ECRIN has been updating COVID-19 data including a literature review on randomised clinical trials, funding list for clinical trials and fast track procedures by country. Moreover, ECRIN is coordinating a module that is shared between the two large European platform trials funded by the European Commission. The coordination module aims to ensure an optimal and harmonised approach of COVID-19 clinical research in Europe. ECRIN is also leading a work package on data management in the new vaccine network funded by the European Commission. (Details about ECRIN’s COVID-19 service).
  • Euro-BioImaging ERIC – Rapid access to data and resources related to imaging: Biological and biomedical imaging technologies are essential for addressing many of the research questions related to the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the COVID-19 disease it induces, from fundamental research at the molecular and cellular level to medical applications and diagnostics. (Details about Euro-BioImaging’s COVID-19 service).
  • European Social Survey-ERIC (ESS) – Using survey data to understand the crisis: European Social Survey data collected in up to 38 countries across Europe every two years since 2002 remains freely available for anyone to access and analyse. In particular, consideration of responses to survey questions on happiness, loneliness, social relationships, health and wellbeing as well as trust in other people, government and institutions (including health services) is helpful for providing some context to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 20 items asking people specifically about Coronavirus will be included in the ESS Round 10 (2020/21) questionnaire. Half of these questions were selected for inclusion following a call for proposals that was open to all academics and researchers. 
  • European Spallation Source DEMAX– Prioritised access: The Deuteration & Macromolecular Crystallisation (DEMAX) platform at ESS is offering prioritised access to laboratory services for scientists and researchers working on COVID-19-related research projects. It is able to provide expertise, advice and limited materials to support research aimed at the critical need to gain a better understanding of COVID-19. (Details about European Spallation Source DEMAX’s COVID-19 service). Read more about a COVID-19 research study in collaboration with the European Spallation Source DEMAX laboratory. 
  • EU-OPENSCREEN’s partner sites are currently engaged in a range of activities to study the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 with focus on drug discovery including screening campaigns of local repurposing libraries. (Details about EU-OPENSCREEN’s COVID-19 service).
  • Infrafrontier’s emergency archiving service has helped research labs all over Europe to preserve their valuable strains during institutional shutdowns due to the pandemic. In its EMMA repository, INFRAFRONTIER offers a number of mouse strains related to COVID-19 for scientists working on treatments or vaccines. A recent TA Call allows open access to the consortium´s outstanding facilities and expertise for medical research teams developing innovative therapeutics against COVID-19 and its new variants. (Here more details about INFRAFRONTIER’s COVID-19 service).
  • Instruct-ERIC offers priority access to groups that need to use its structural biology services for projects directly related to COVID-19 viral proteins. Priority access will ensure a faster review of research proposals relating to COVID-19.(Details about Instruct’s COVID-19 service
  • LifeWatch ERIC facilities allow research on epidemiology modelling; large scale data management (including Blockchain-based technologies).(Details about LifeWatch’s COVID-19 service ).
  • SHARE-ERIC has published an early release of SHARE-COVID data in December 2020! It features the data collected by telephone (CATI) on topics related to COVID-19 for a large sub-sample of SHARE panel respondents. Find detailed information and data access >> here. First research results are expected in February 2021. In summer 2020, SHARE-ERIC successfully conducted a special SHARE-COVID survey in 27 European countries and Israel, with a follow-up planned for spring 2021. By asking people aged 50 years and older questions about their health and health behaviour, mental health, infections and healthcare, changes in work and economic situation, and social networks, the SHARE-COVID data contributes to study the non-intended socio-economic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU Commission supports the SHARE COVID-19 research project (SHARE-COVID19) by funding through Horizon 2020 and the Coronavirus Global Response initiative. Details about SHARE’s COVID-19 service.

ERICs’ responses to the ERF questionnaire ”Research Infrastructures and COVID-19 Research”:

BBMRI-ERIC/ CERIC-ERIC/ CLARIN-ERICDARIAH-ERIC/ EATRIS-ERIC/ ECRIN-ERIC/ European Spallation Source DEMAX/ EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC/ Infrafrontier/ Instruct-ERIC/ LifeWatch ERIC/ SHARE-ERIC.

Other sources about information related to COVID-19 and research infrastructures:

  • The ERF page gathers detailed information about the COVID-19 dedicated activities of Research Infrastructures in Europe, open to the international research community.
  • ESFRI has set a dedicated webpage containing information about ESFRI RIs, as well as national ones, for COVID-19 resources and activities. 
  • The European Life Science Research Infrastructures present details about their serverices here.
  • BBMRI-ERIC, EATRIS-ERIC and ECRIN-ERIC’s Position Paper: European medical research infrastructures are part of the global response.

 

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