Instruct: Focus on Spain
Spain has been in close contact with Instruct since the early stages of the preparatory phase of this Infrastructure. There was always a clear and positive scientific community drive in Spain, although the process to formally join Instruct was complex. Indeed, membership of Instruct with full rights came only with the signing of the International Consortium Agreement (ICA) at the First Instruct Biennial Structural Biology Meeting in Heidelberg in May 2013. Before that date, Spain was contributing to Instruct with Electron Microscopy image processing expertise, but Spanish scientists could not apply for Instruct Access Projects.
It is interesting to see how ESFRI initiatives, in general, and Instruct, in particular, have a strong national appeal. In fact, in the relative short period since the signing of the ICA, Spanish scientists have become the main users of the Instruct access proposal system. This high representation of Spanish projects indicates that our scientists are eager to access leading edge infrastructures with very competitive projects, and that access initiatives like Instruct are very welcome.
Building on the clearly expressed scientific national interest indicated before, and in spite of the severe national economic recession, Spain is seriously considering being one of the Founding Members of the future Instruct ERIC. The notions of “long term vision” and “sustainability” that characterize the ERICs are nationally recognized as highly desirable elements to be included in all our national scientific policies. We hope that the coming negotiations with the EU and with the Member States to establish the ERIC proceed fast, and that soon we will have the opportunity to welcome the new entity Instruct-ERIC, with Spain as one of its Founding members.