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"Standards make the world go round"

"Standards make the world go round"

On the 2 March 2020, COST Action Harmonising standardisation strategies to increase efficiency and competitiveness of European life-science research (CHARME) held its final conference in Brussels.

After four years of successful work, the members of the COST Action CHARME met in Brussels to summarise the achievements and to discuss future perspectives and challenges for standardisation in the life sciences.

Standards represent important drivers in the life-sciences and technology transfer because they guarantee that data become accessible, shareable and comparable along the value chain.

The CHARME network, chaired by Dr Susanne Hollmann, fostered collaboration between researchers from 31 countries to increase awareness for the need for standards, enabling the reuse of research data and their interoperability within the community. CHARME provides a common ground for researchers from academia, research institutes, SMEs and multinational organisations.

Following the motto "Standards make the world go round", the outcomes of the COST Action are manifold and introduced some basic concepts and definitions that support a better understanding of the challenges and requirements.

A challenge identified is the digitalisation and interoperability of data and tools in wet- and in silico-labs, because there is an urgent need for common languages and ontologies to enable data reuse and process automation. This becomes an even bigger challenge if researchers work with data derived from different scientific fields. Relevant instruments to support the implementation of standardisation are tools for data and process documentation. Unfortunately, the interoperability between the existing instruments is limited. Hence, the development of new tools is necessary to allow the transfer of data from one system to another and thus allowing the reuse of data from databases and data repositories. Despite the fact that many researchers already make their data compliant to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), identifiers or terms used are not harmonised (e.g. database identifiers, ontologies and chemical [sub]structures).

The extensive involvement of the scientific community in CHARME is one of the most important achievements of this COST Action. CHARME participants have attracted, interacted and cooperated intensively with international organisations such as the ISO TC 276, CEN/CENELEC, with initiatives and scientific organisations like ELIXIR, ORPHANET , COMBINE, FAIRDOM, GA4GH.

To harmonise activities with the efforts done outside Europe, CHARME was supported by the COST Association to run a joint workshop with the Massive Analysis and QC (MAQC) Society from the US where both communities discussed fundamental themes of research and machine learning reproducibility in the context of standard's needs.

During European and international conferences and workshops, CHARME has presented possible solutions in the development and implementation of a uniform European Education & Training programme in existing curricula.

An excellent training programme was realised through the organisation of Think Tank events, training schools and an effective set of STSM actions. Young researchers participating in the first training school, organised in 2017, were so much motivated by the standardisation topic that they initiated follow-up schools and activities. Noteworthy, 15 Early Stage Researchers coming from 12 member countries and hosted in another 7 member countries benefited from STSMs. Furthermore, as part of this success story, the outcome of these STSMs inspired new collaborations, master theses, new project ideas and are also reflected in publications. All beneficiaries of the STSM networking tool agreed that the STSM has been of high value for both training and career.

The results of this COST Action's network will be subject of a White Paper addressing the needs of standardisation, including a catalogue of requirements and recommendations to be disseminated to decision-makers at all levels to enable the implementation of standards in the daily workflow of research in academia and industry.

The Action, ending this month, has given the opportunity to its members to tentatively presenting a set of preliminary requirements to develop further the harmonisation of standards. We hope this will inspire other Actions for the future.

Contact: Susanne Hollmann This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Domenica Delia.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Erik Bongcam-Rudloff. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


More information on:


Note: COST is an EU funding programme that enables researchers to set up their interdisciplinary research networks in Europe and beyond. We provide funds for organising conferences, meetings, training schools, short scientific exchanges or other networking activities in a wide range of scientific topics. By creating open spaces where people and ideas can grow, we unlock the full potential of science.


Manos Conference Center

Chaussée de Charleroi, 135, 1060 Bruxelles

Day one March 2, 2020

10:00 – 11:45 Core group meeting

11:45-13:00 Registration

12:00 -13:00 lunch break

13:00 Welcome address by Susanne Hollmann and Erik Bongcam-Rudloff
13:15 Summary reports of WGs
WG1 Aleksandra Gruca / Ugur Sezerman
WG2 Andreas Kremer
WG3 Chris Evelo
WG4 Domenica D’Elia
WG5: Marcus Frohme
STSMs: David Safranek

Chair: D. Safranek

14:15- 15:30 Success stories
14:15 Lukrécia Mertová “Automatising annotation workflows to maximize advantages of existing standards for curation of biological models and experiment databases”
14:30 Vanja Vlajkov “Development and usage of SOPs in methods for analysis and quality management of products derived from microorganisms”
14:45 Pavlo Onopriienko “Development of SOPs in analysis of life science data using machine learning methods”
15:00 Hüseyin Okan Soykam “Text Mining Approaches for Molecular Pathways for Rare Diseases”

Podium discussion with the STSM

15:30-16:00 coffee break

Chair: M. Frohme

  Speaker Title
16:00 Juliane Pfeil CHARME training schools - the perspective of a young researcher as a participant and organizer"
16:20 Liane Kober Exploring out-of-the box opportunities for digitalization and interoperability in the R&D lab
16:40 Shosahna Wodak tba

Social Event: 19:00

Ultime Atome, Rue Saint-Boniface 14, 1050 Ixelles, Bruxelles


Manos Conference Center

Chaussée de Charleroi, 135, 1060 Bruxelles

Day two, March 3, 2020

Start at 9:15 am

Chair: A. Kremer

  Speaker Title
9:20 F. Locher (BPI) tba
9:40 Dr. C. Hollmann (Servier) tba
10:00 Klemen Zupancic (SciNote) ELNs

10:40 - 11:00 Coffee break

Chair: C. Evelo

  Speaker Title
11:00 Chris Evelo "Is there anybody out there? The need for software to profit from data standards still exists."
11:30 Egon Schultes* Standards in chemistry for life sciences, identifier and (sub)structure base mapping and existing needs in that area.
12:00 Samira Nik CEN/CENELEC new strategy

*TC presentation

12:30 -14:00 lunch break

Chair: M. Frohme

  Speaker Title
14:00 Sören Hohmann Standardization of ELNs
14:30 Christoph Endrullat Standardization of NGS
15:00 Alina Nechiporenco CHARMEing image processing

Chair: S. Hollmann

15:30 Small group work about CHARME feedback of members - Survey

16:00 - 16:45 Discussion

16:45 closing remarks

In cooperation with DTL/ELIXIR-NL WG3 is organising a meeting about "Metadata for data reusability: eNotebook standards" and will take place, 31 October 2019 in Holland Heart House, Utrecht-NL.

The registration is free of fees, but a few members of CHARME will be supported to participate. If you are interested in participating please register via the link: The local organisers will select the candidates supported by CHARME and will inform you latest in the first week of October. As ususal, please wait with booking until you have received the confirmation of the local organisers and invitation link from the e-Cost system.
More information about the event:

CHARME-Training School, August 31 to September 5, 2019, Istanbul, TR.

We are excited to announce the 4rd CHARME Training School on Big Data with the Topic

"Microbiome, Metagenome Standards, Analysis Pipelines, Models and Reproducibility".

The training school is free of any fee. Interested candidates should apply for participation via the link 
Selected trainees will receive a lump sum of € 600 for trip and accommodation.

Deadline for application will be August 5, 2019. Selected trainees will be informend August 7, 2019 latest.

Please notice that the rules of the COST Vademecum will apply for this event.


CHARME Stakeholder Meeting, March 12, 2019 Bruxelles
How to facilitate tangible Open Science (OS) and Innovation Transfer in life science research?
We take you on a journey behind the scenes and invite you to look at the topic through the eyes of various stakeholders. We invite you to experience the view of the other side(s) and to enter in a discussion with each other.

stakeholder meeting 2019 Seite 1stakeholder meeting 2019 Seite 2

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