B3Africa Annual General Meeting, Austria, 19-21 June 2016

The first B3Africa AGM took place in Graz, Austria from 19-21 June 2016. The meeting was hosted by BBMRI-ERIC and Medizinische Universitat Graz (MUG). B3Africa partners met to reflect on progress and achievements made over the first year of the project.

Present:  Anouk Berger (IARC), Anna Beskow (UCR‐Sweden), Erik Bongcam‐Rudloff (SLU), Talishiea Croxton (IBRH3AU), Timothy Dawson-Reid (SU), Thomas  Klingström (SLU), Samuel Kyobe (MAK), Jan-Eric Litton (BBMRI-ERIC), Michaela Th. Mayrhofer (BBMRI-ERIC), Maimuna Mendy (IARC), Roxana Merino‐Martinez (KI), Heimo Müller (MUG), Jane Reichel (UU), Robert Reihs (MUG), Santa Slokenberga, Mike Taussig (Babraham, UK), Etienne de Villiers (KEMRI‐Kenya), Kurt Zatloukal (MUG)

Apologies: Alan Christoffels (SANBI)

Members were welcomed to Graz by K Zatloukal and JE Litton. E Bongkam presented the Financial Report. The work package leaders presented updates as follows:

WP 1  Regulatory framework (J Reichel, S Slokenberga, R Martinez)

  • The challenges of sharing within the General Data Protection Regulations; more analysis of data-sharing is required.
  • Informed consent and ethical approval concept established for the project; lessons learnt from The Gambia meeting.

WP2   Integration (M Th. Mayrhofer, H Müller, R Reihs)

  • Update on the stakeholders’ engagement; BBMRI-ERIC to invite stakeholders to European Biobank Week, September 2016 in Vienna; B3Africa will have a stand.
  • Reported on the first jamboree event held in Cape Town in August 2015.
  • Integration with other online catalogues such as BBMRI-ERIC Directory and BCNet Catalogue.

WP3   Presentation – LIMS (E BongcamRudloff, on behalf of A Christoffels)

  • Biospecimens include human and animal samples.
  • Documentation in GitHub and Bika documentation, observed that the documentation is enough for future developments and maintenance.

WP4   Bioinformatics (T Klingström)

  • Discussed dockerizing Galaxy, the selection of bioinformatics tools will begin soon.

WP5   Education and Training (A Berger)

  • The launch of a webinar series to address key concepts identified through the learning needs assessment, as well as gather future users from use case institutions and beyond; organization of face to face courses, in close collaboration with WP7, and the development of learning and training material to be packaged into the final version eB3kit.

WP6   Dissemination (M Mendy)

  • Presented, the planned dissemination activities; website launch; newsletter; open forum meeting in the Gambia; stakeholder questionnaire survey.

WP7   Use Case (R Martinez)

  • Reported on meetings and interactions with use cases.
  • Discussed the value of the project in Africa and EU and who will benefit.

Planning Future Activities

  • Venue for next annual meeting: Uganda was suggested, to correspond with H3Africa event; plan for training together with the annual meeting.
  • Technical Jamborees will be organized for developers to meet and work on programming, this will be combined with training
    • Two are planned in 2016; one in South Africa and another in Sweden, others will be organized in 2017; in Austria, Sweden and a use case centre
  • Stakeholders activities: European Biobank week, preliminary programme and options for slots for B3Africa


The three Advisory Board members provided valuable support and advice for B3Africa ongoing and future activities. The members are:

  • Mike Taussig (Babraham, UK): Dr Taussig has considerable experience of managing large scale European networking and research projects having been management coordinator of the MolTools consortium (FP6), coordinator of the ProteomeBinders Research Infrastructure Coordination Action (FP6) and the AffinityProteome project directed at SMEs (FP7), and a WP coordinator in the FP7 European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Infrastructure (BBMRI), with responsibility for protein and antibody resources in Europe.
  • Anna Beskow (UCR‐Sweden): Director of Uppsala Biobank with a vast experience in biobank management and support to bio‐medical research. Beskow has been leading biobanking harmonization and integration initiatives at the national level.
  • Etienne De Villiers (KEMRI‐Kenya): He is actively involved in capacity building in bioinformatics in East and central Africa and has introduced several hundred students to the subject. He currently has an appointment as extraordinary lecturer at the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit, University of Pretoria, South Africa and is executive board member of EMBnet, The Global Bioinformatics Network.


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