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Workshop: Online Bioinformatic Platforms to support Metabarcoding and Metagenomics research and Applications

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Workshop: Online Bioinformatic Platforms to support Metabarcoding and Metagenomics research and Applications

The pan-European Workshop, held in Porto from 26 to 28 February, in the Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO-InBIO) at the Vairão campus of the University of Porto, Portugal, boasted a very specific title: ‘Online Bioinformatic Platforms to Support Metabarcoding and Metagenomics Research and Applications'.

The workshop witnessed more than 30 participants from nine European countries (Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland) with different expertise and backgrounds, ranging from metagenomics and metabarcoding, to ecology and ICT.

The workshop was jointly organised with PORBIOTA/ LifeWatch Portugal, DNAqua-Net (dedicated to the protection, preservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems and their functions) and the EnvMetaGen project at InBIO (Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology). LifeWatch ERIC supported its organisation as part of its Internal Joint Initiative on Non-indigenous and Invasive Species. The workshop explored the architecture and function of an online bioinformatics platform capable to address as many needs of the scientific community as possible, such as:

1) Checking existing distributed Bioinformatics e-Resources within the LifeWatch ERIC communities of practice,

2) Reaching a common understanding of users' requirements and needs in Virtual Research Environments, and

3) Proposing an efficient and realistic and engaging mechanism from an ICT perspective, capable of federating those e-Resources within the LifeWatch ERIC VREs.

Examples of evidence-based research were provided by the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), MIRRI (Microbial Research Resource Infrastructure), ELIXIR (which unites Europe's leading life science organisations in managing and safeguarding the ever-growing volumes of data generated), other Research Infrastructures and Bioinformatics initiatives.

The outcome of the three days was a plan with well-identified next steps towards the co-construction of the bioinformatic platform.