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Slovenia becomes a member of the Integrated Structural Biology – European Research Infrastructure Consortium

On 10 May 2023, Slovenia became a member of the Instruct-ERIC European Research Infrastructure Consortium by the Instruct-ERIC Council decision, and thus joined the fourteen existing members together with Greece. The membership enables researchers from Slovenia to participate in the entire portfolio of services, including the technology catalogue, internships, training programmes, and research and development funding.

Representatives of Slovenia and Greece in a group photo upon admission to the Instruct-ERIC consortium

Greece, in addition to Slovenia, has also joined the Instruct-ERIC consortium | Author Instruct-ERIC

Instruct-ERIC is the European Research Infrastructure Consortium for Integrated Structural Biology Infrastructure: Instruct-ERIC. It is the research infrastructure of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in the field of structural biology and biophysics that provides access to state-of-the-art technologies to all European researchers, both academic and industrial. Structural biology is one of the mainstream disciplines in the field of life sciences, which enables the interpretation of molecular mechanisms at high resolution to the atomic level, through the use of complementary high-tech approaches. The basic methods for analysing molecular structures at atomic resolution are X-ray crystallography, cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The combination of these three with the approaches of biophysics, bioinformatics, biochemistry, computational chemistry, cell biology, synthetic biology, engineering and artificial intelligence is called integrated structural biology. This enables us to understand the mechanism of action and the role of biological molecules, either in isolated form or in the context of living cells and organisms; therefore, these approaches are of utmost importance in medicine, the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology.

The government of the Republic of Slovenia put participation in Instruct-ERIC on the priority list of international projects set out by the 2030 Research Infrastructure Roadmap (RIR 2030). On this basis, in 2022, Slovenia started preparations and procedures for obtaining the status of a full member. In December 2022, the Instruct.SI national consortium was established for this purpose, involving the Institute of Chemistry, which participates in the role of coordinator, the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Approaches in Chemistry and Biology of Proteins, the Jožef Stefan Institute, the National Institute of Biology, the University of Ljubljana, the University of Maribor and the University of Nova Gorica. The aims and objectives of Instruct.SI mainly relate to the integration, strengthening of synergies and critical mass between the key players in the Slovenian research community in the field of structural biology, the active involvement of consortium partners in the Instruct-ERIC activities and the continuous development and growth of the scientific level in structural biology in Slovenia and globally.