European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures
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Instruct-ERIC formally ratified by the European Commission
The ESFRI Landmark, Instruct, celebrated its new ERIC status at an awards ceremony at the Royal Society, London, on 18th July. Patrick Child, Deputy General, Research and Innovation European Commission, awarded the ERIC assignment to Jo Johnson, UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, representing the host nation. In his speech, Jo Johnson recognised the value and relevance of collaborative work between the UK and European scientists.
Instruct is a pan-European partnership giving researchers vital access to advanced instrumentation and the necessary training. The equipment is typically very expensive and requires specific technical experience. Technology and infrastructure are at the heart of the revolution to connect atomic resolution of molecular structures with functionality at the cellular level, and technical advances are constantly pushing the science forward.
The new legal status for Instruct transforms it into a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), joining 16 others across Europe. As the second UK-hosted ERIC, Instruct will provide the European structural biology community with continued access to high-quality, stable and sustainable services.
Over the past four decades, European researchers have played a pivotal role in developing increasingly sophisticated technologies including super-powerful cryo-electron microscopes. Instruct has been supported since its inception by the Medical Research Council, on behalf of the UK as the host country.
Instruct provides access to some of the most sophisticated methods that allows researchers to generate images of molecules at near-atomic level, in far greater detail than was previously possible. This detail allows them to understand how the molecular machines in our bodies work and determine the building blocks of proteins, viruses and cells. Cryo-EM, one of the key technologies at the forefront of the structure revolution, is allowing researchers to better understand how diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, affect the brain, and how specific molecules involved in causing disease might be targeted with drugs or vaccines.
Read about the Instruct ERIC ceremony in London here