Accessing the sea and its biodiversity for science

Warning message

The start date of this training opportunity has already passed

General information

The European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) is organising a workshop on “Accessing the sea and its biodiversity for science”. The workshop will focus on how research infrastructures (RIs) in Europe can help researchers access marine biodiversity in light of the new rules on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol which came into force in Europe in 2014, as well as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). These rules impose high and new regulatory requirements on accessing the biological resources for scientific purposes. Research infrastructures are ideally positioned to facilitate the access to bioresources within this framework and reduce the administrative burden for scientists by implementing safety-net processes and guidelines. EMBRC (the European Marine Biological Resource Centre) has the ambition of becoming a major player in the brokering of access to marine bio-resources. To achieve this goal will require a substantial strategic effort in the positioning of the RI in relation to other national and international competent bodies, close collaboration with other bio-resources and data supplying RIs, as well as clarifying the role that RIs can play in accessing the biological material. It also requires a better understanding of the role of other international initiatives, funding bodies and interest groups in the context of acquiring and using marine bioresources for scientific purposes. Ultimately it will be the interplay between these various organisations, the RIs and the users that will enable EMBRC to become the platform for exploring marine biodiversity for science.

To commence tackling the new rules and procedures related to accessing the sea and its bio-resources under the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol,  the related EU Regulation, and the UNCLOS, EMBRC would like to invite fellow RIs, data providers, relevant European initiatives (ERA-NETs, JPIs), representatives of Competent National Authorities and users to attend a two day workshop to identify common and shared solutions and future collaboration on accessing marine biodiversity for scientific purposes.

The workshop will have presentations from ABS International, Emodnet, Elixir, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the European Commission and many others.

We would like to invite you to participate in this two-day event to share your experience with ABS, the Nagoya Protocol and related frameworks, and to discuss how we tackle this difficult topic and position the RIs.  

4 thematic sessions:

1) Concern on Ethics issues; 

The session is started with the introduction of EC policy on Ethics, the issues is important for a RI (who handle sensitive resources/data) to concern about on top of providing basic science and technology services. 

It is followed by a talk on the challenges identified from Elixir practice, that policies for access to generic resources/data are different from countries to countries, from stakeholders (data providers, service providers, data users) to stakeholders, and accountability (how best use of entrust data) is the key issue. 

The third talk again given by EC, is to introduce a EU legal and policy framework, EU Access & Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulation. However, at the moment, no ABS regulation is applied in practice. The main problem is different countries have different status in applying ABS regulation, (some countries compliance but not regulate, local rules can over EU regulations etc). This is an important issue for an ERIC RI to concern about.

2) Best practices in applying ABS 

In this session, practice example from Elixir  and MIRRI are given. In Elixir, PIDs are assigned to data/resources. Provence is applied to track the process of sampling, experiments, data analysis and interpretation. The Science data is the inputs for Provence data which is linked with Legal Database for checking the policy constrains. In MIRRI, a ESFRI RI on culture collections and microbial biodiversity, a ICT system enables access to data with  security management, implements quality checking of data, and ensure legal data in use.

3) Special issues in Access to resources

For example, in Antarctic research, EC related policies only on fishing and mining. Researchers from one country cannot use equipments from the next door lab, because they are from different countries.

4) Implementing ABS

This session discussed two examples from EMODNet and from EuOpenscreen. EMODNet is a EU initiative on Marine observation, and EUOpenscreen is research on Chemical Biology (planning to enter ERIC in 2017). Both are step ahead to provide ICT systems.

In summary, enabling access to resources (in different countries) is an important topics for many ESFRI/ERIC RIs (also in ENVRIplus), at moment no standard solutions. Building policies management into the ICT systems that enable access to resources/data based on institutions policies or countries regulations/rules is the direction. But many today’s RIs do not have operation level ICT system. 

The workshop helped me to understand research infrastructure concerned issues. I also think, it would be good if e-Infrastructure technology providers are aware of the issues, give attention to those best practice, and provide technology advices and support to help. 

Contact Person: Nicolas Pade (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0312 - Policy and governance", "0421 - Marine and maritime law", "0512 - Biotechnology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0831 - Aquaculture


Venue: Crete Region office
Brussels, Belgium


Open from
2 May 2016 to 31 Aug 2016

Click here to apply:


Academic level: Lifelong Learning
Occupations (not validated):
Spotted a mistake in this page? Click here to request a change.