impact and viability

Impact of the FiALM Node​

The Finnish Advanced Light Microscopy Node (FiALM) engages very actively in the development of new imaging-related technologies, methodologies, and applications. A timely example of these is the development of virtual and remote access imaging, which enables scientists to increasingly use imaging services without the need of physical travel. FiALM is also very closely integrated with several other infrastructures and organizations relevant to its operations. For instance, in image analysis and data management development, FiALM closely collaborates with the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC), The Network of European BioImage Analysts (NEUBIAS), the BioImage Informatics Finland network (BIIF), and the Open Microscopy Environment (OME) and OMERO server team at the University of Dundee, enabling better utilization of resources and expertise, teaching collaboration and the creation of harmonized data solutions. Through these interactions, FiALM significantly strengthens both the national and international research infrastructure and research landscape, achieves more efficient use of resources and expertise, and provides excellent opportunities for collaboration for Finnish researchers with international partners, and the other way around. Moreover, FiALM is strongly involved in education and training activities, offering numerous courses and workshops for scientists, available to local, national and international participants. Importantly, FiALM hosts an international MSc programme in biomedical imaging, which has attracted top candidates from all over the world for more than a decade, producing graduates with much-needed imaging expertise to serve as researchers and imaging core facility staff in Finland and many other countries.

Viability and sustainable operations​​

Euro-BioImaging-Finland (EuBI-Fi) links all major imaging centers in Finland into one organization will allow this research infrastructure to address the essential issue of long-term sustainability from the start, making sure that its ramp-up phase seamlessly leads into a robust and sustainable operation. Important aspects of providing viability and operational sustainability that EuBI-FI has a strong focus on are:

Quality management

The rapid growth and increased complexity of imaging technologies and services require a robust, yet adaptable quality management system to ensure the generation of scientifically sound, reusable and accessible data regardless of the medium used. Furthermore, quality management is an essential component to deliver high-quality service and reproducible data to users, and it also enables imaging facilities to operate together as a unified and efficient research infrastructure to facilitate synergies in delivering cutting edge services for the user community. Quality management also includes the formation of a robust system of key performance indicators that are “S.M.A.R.T.” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). EuBi-Fi as actively working with Euro- BioImaging ERIC to develop the infrastructure’s quality management.

Building user trust

Mutual trust between infrastructure and its user communities is especially important in the early stages of development. A clear outline of services and associated training, and their professional delivery to scientists, will ultimately increase user numbers based on user experience and confidence in the infrastructure. The key objective of EuBI-Fi is to build strong user trust by actively improving the support of Euro-BioImaging’s biological and biomedical user communities in European countries.

The long-term strategy, impact, and enlargement of the user base

The socio-economic impact and long-term sustainability of Euro-BioImaging ERIC are strongly dependent on the user community. The prospective and existing societal impact factors of EuBI-Fi operations will be analyzed, identifying the shared and added values in local, national and European science policy and society. A detailed plan will then be created to ensure the maximal realization and visibility of these societal impacts.

Integration of the EuBI-Fi Nodes and supporting development and implementation of new technologies

For EuBI-Fi to be successful, a key aspect is that its Nodes operate together as a unified pan-European research infrastructure, with good internal communication, up-to-date skills of the personnel and harmonized practices wherever possible. EuBI-Fi aims to achieve this through its dedicated management that effectively combines the biological and biomedical imaging communities.

Enabling access to and usage of image data services according to FAIR principles

As more and more digital image data is produced, it is becoming increasingly important to the scientific community that such data is made findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. EuBI-Fi will work with the Euro-BioImaging Hub and its Web Portal development team to build a scalable imaging data submission and harvesting infrastructure, which includes submissions to public and value-added databases such as the Image Data Resource, the largest biological knowledgebase of its kind. To fulfill the FAIR guidelines, EuBI-Fi will aim to ensure coherent and high-quality metadata standards and ontologies, work in which EuBI-Fi actively participates as a community and through its partners both nationally and internationally.

Boost innovation and technology transfer

While the industry and academia are mutually dependent on the activities of each other, they often implement different strategies to address the needs of research. An important role for research infrastructures is to provide a collaboration platform between these two worlds, enabling the technology development that ensures that appropriate products to be available in a timely fashion to support the needs of research. Building on its already solid interactions with the industry and employing the connections of the Euro-BioImaging Industry Board (https://eurobioimaging- and the Euro-BioImaging ERIC Hub, EuBI-Fi takes a multi-pronged approach to boost its innovation potential.

International cooperation:

Imaging is a global phenomenon, and while Europe is at the forefront of several developments in imaging, a sustainable EuBI-Fi infrastructure needs to look also beyond. There are numerous collaboration partners outside Europe and some countries have advanced imaging infrastructures and solutions from which EuBI-Fi can learn. Building on the success of Global BioImaging, EuBI-Fi aims at strengthening its relationships with the international imaging community across five continents.

Project management

EuBI-Fi aims to provide the coordination and management backbone to the Finnish Nodes by supporting a smooth flow of communication amongst the Node partners and beneficiaries, towards the Euro-BioImaging ERIC, its SAB, and the European Commission, and by monitoring overall progress and timely submission of deliverables and reports.