Euro-BioImaging Finland develops viable and sustainable operations in biological and medical imaging

Euro-BioImaging-Finland links all major imaging centers from six universities and three university hospitals in Finland into one organization, allowing 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 Euro-BioImaging Finland has a strong focus on are:

Integration of the Euro-BioImaging Finland Nodes and coordinating Finnish imaging

For Euro-BioImaging Finland 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. Euro-BioImaging Finland aims to achieve this through its new, dedicated management that also effectively combines the biological and biomedical imaging communities and leads Euro-BioImaging Finland’s work on the national roadmap of research infrastructures 2021-2024. The dedicated management also holds a key position in coordinating other national imaging activities in Finland and for instance Nordic collaboration, enabling imaging in Finland in general to be well coordinated with clear divisions of tasks and specialties without unnecessary overlaps. A key partner of Euro-BioImaging Finland is the Biocenter Finland Biological Imaging Infratstructure.

"Green transition" and digitalization

It is increasingly important that also research infrastructures in biological and medical sciences develop modes of operation that are more environmentally friendly and make the best possible use of modern digital solutions. These aspects go hand-in-hand in Euro-BioImaging Finland: the organization is a pioneering developer of remote-access and virtual imaging in Europe, and this in turn is largely based on digital solutions that allow bidirectional control of instruments, real-time communication and effective data management. Euro-BioImaging Finland is actively developing these solutions so that users can increasingly conduct complex imaging experiments without the need to travel, and Euro-BioImaging Finland can optimize its own energy consumption and carbon footprint. At the same time, digital solutions are developed so that imaging data can be shared and re-used within Euro-BioImaging Finland partners and users, combined with other types of data, and new research conducted without even the need to produce new original data. This includes tools for safe handling of sensitive data. These aspect are developed in collaboration with Elixir Finland.

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. Euro-BioImaging Finland aims to work with the Euro-BioImaging Hub and its Web Portal development team, as well as other parners, 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, Euro-BioImaging Finland will aim to ensure coherent and high-quality metadata standards and ontologies, work in which Euro-BioImaging Finland actively participates as a community and through its partners both nationally and internationally.

Supporting development and implementation of new technologies

Euro-BioImaging Finland actively follows the latest trends in imaging, and identifies areas of development both in terms of instruments, software and applications in collaboration with companies and academic researchers. Euro-BioImaging Finland engages also in pioneering work in these fields in Europe. For example, Euro-BioImaging Finland is active in showcasing and conducting proof-of-concept open access studies on new imaging technologies in Euro-BioImaging (for example in atomic force microscopy and magnetoencephalography).

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). Euro-BioImaging Finland is 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 Euro-BioImaging Finland 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 Euro-BioImaging Finland 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.