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ISBE report with steps required to establish a long-term funding and governance strategy

Pugh, Adrian; Pastori, Gabriela; Martens, Frans; Pauw, Bea; Rueckert, Chris; Vonder Muehll, Daniel; Alberghina, Lilia; Borsani, Massimiliano; Kitney, Richard; Skene, Barbara; Martins dos Santos, Vitor; Regierer, Babette; Westerhoff, Hans; Mone, Martijn; Stanford, Natalie; Van Driel, Roel; Van Nieuwpoort, Frans

Work Package 11 (WP11) was established to deliver a proposal for “a long-term funding and governance strategy that supports the objectives and priorities of funding organisations participating in ISBE.” Based on project partners’ prior experience from other ESFRIs, ISBE identified the need to consider an interim phase immediately following the preparatory phase prior to the legal phase.

A key aspect for the structure of the interim phase was what opportunities for greater coherence and cohesion to maximise links across existing infrastructure elements it might enable. Any agreement for this phase would also need to encompass existing cross-border and potential bi/multilateral funding and legal agreements. Significantly, the Systems Biology community provides scope to build on activities supported through existing European funding programmes (e.g. ERANETS), and synergies with other ESFRI BMS projects.

For these goals, WP11 has developed an initial funding structure and legal mechanism for ISBE to immediately follow the preparatory phase, being the “Interim Phase”. This is intended to include elements for early investment for delivering a pilot phase infrastructure resource, and developing associated co-ordination structure. This interim phase could aide identification and integration of potential ministries and funding agencies expressing their interest in long term strategic support.

This is intended to be a combined process of transitional steps to establish operations in advance of the legal phase of ISBE, and engage in negotiations with funding agencies and other bodies previously expressing an interest in supporting ISBE. WP11 identified the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding as the best form of agreement to support the interim phase.

Finally, WP11 outlined a process whereby expressions of interest and/or the identification of ISBE candidate national systems biology centres could be approved through transparent review that also responded to the strategic and financial expectations of ISBE funding organisations.

Plans for developing this interim phase were developed through discussions with WP11 Funding Governance and Legal Advisory Committee (FGLAC), then via Focus Group 5 (2014) followed by joint Focus Groups 4 and 5 (2015).

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