NEUBIAS Short-Term Scientific Missions

By Julia Fernandez Rodriguez and Clara Prats (WG7)

The Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) grants are the best instrument NEUBIAS Action has to support ideas and knowledge exchange and collaboration among the network across borders. STSMs can vary from one week to three months. Both home and host institutions should be from a COST country which has accepted the NEUBIAS Memorandum of Understanding and has participated in the NEUBIAS Action.

Knowledge exchange – STSMs contribute to knowledge transfer to support individual careers and regional development. Alexander L. Hargreaves, from the University of Leeds UK, is one of many researchers who took part in a NEUBIAS STSM. His works involves a clinical trial investigating the effect of sperm DNA compaction faults on human fertility. Called HABSelect Clinical Trial, it’s the largest of its kind with over 3000 participants. Having only wide-field images in the Aniline Blue stain, Alexander performed a STSM in Uppsala, Sweden for one week to collaborate with image computation specialists from Prof. Carolina Wählby group. As champions of the popular open-source software CellProfiler, they have developed a range of image analysis algorithms, from shape-based thresholding and segmentation, to categorization with leading-edge deep learning architectures. “Thanks to the STSM, I appreciated learning a great deal in a short, high-pressure period of time from the very best scientists in their field. I also produced both valuable data and important future contacts for my home institution. Through NEUBIAS I feel we are forging important international links between BioImage Analysts and fertility experts across Europe. Overall, I hope that this large-scale study will act as a catalyst for improved image analysis throughout fertility science; eventually leading to better fertility outcomes for families”, says Alexander.

Cooperation and Collaboration – Enhancing further collaborations on innovative image analysis methods is also an important aspect of NEUBIAS STSMs. Victor E. A. Caldas from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, performed an STSM at the laboratory of Prof. Mark Fricker, University of Oxford, UK. The specific goal of his STSM was to evaluate image datasets of symbiotic fungal networks, indicating directions for the next round of image acquisition and transfer technology of image analysis of living networks between their laboratories. “This STSM was fundamental to initiate the collaboration with Prof. Mark Fricker and to identify our common research interests and directions for future research. As a direct consequence of the STSM, Prof. Fricker will be included in my next grant application, aiming at optimizing image analysis of networks and modelling of adaptive fungal networks. I am convinced that this STSM has had a valuable and very positive effect in my research topic and career” says Victor.

NEUBIAS continues to see very positive results from these missions. Thanks to its flexible and bottom-up approach, researchers across Europe are working together to show impressive results in a short period of time!

How to Apply for a STSMs – BioImage Analysts and Life Scientists, from Research Labs AND Core facilities, can apply for funds to cover their expenses when visiting a Host-Lab in a different country (Lab or industry) where they will perform a short scientific project strictly focused on BioImage Analysis, and that should enable:
1) collaborations on innovative image analysis methods,
2) access to big data analysis technology and/or image analysis tools for scientists lacking them locally,
3) knowledge transfers to support careers and regional development.

Applications for the STSMs can be submitted any time and will be reviewed at the end of each month!

Please, check all the information here: and contact these people for any question:
Julia Fernandez Rodriguez – NEUBIAS STSM Coordinator
Clara Prats – NEUBIAS WG7 Co-Leader –
Julien Colombelli – NEUBIAS Action Chair –