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Enhancing the qualities of natural microbiomes: PROMICON's First Annual Meeting

23 June 2022
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PROMICON met up for the first time in Barcelona on 20 and 21 June 2022. The two-day event was hosted by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia · BarcelonaTech (UPC) and entailed informative presentations, in-depth discussions, as well as an overview of the projects’ developments and expected outcomes.

The meeting took a rather non-conventional structure, including scientific workshops and ”Young Scientists” interactive sessions. The opportunity to meet physically for the first time, facilitated increased capacity building in the form of networking, informal and friendly exchange between consortium members, as well as the organisation of valuable workshops and exercises.

After a warm welcome by the Scientific Project Manager Dr. Minmin Pan from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig, Germany, the first day of the meeting started with a Young Scientists Match-making Activity. During the plenary session, the PhD students from each partner group were divided into round tables and provided insight into a specific technique/project/methodology.

Collage of the PhD students during the plenary session

The round-table session was followed by a coordination meeting, where all team leaders went over the progress, challenges, and future initiatives of the PROMICON project. In parallel, aYoung Scientists Social Activity proved to be the perfect opportunity for all early career researchers to network and discuss new ideas and future collaborations.

The second day of the meeting began with a visit to the UPC Labs. Partners had the opportunity to tour the facilities and have a first-hand experience and demonstration of the different set-ups with cyanobacteria-enriched microbiomes.

A PhD demonstrating the different set-ups with cyanobacteria-enriched microbiomes

The day continued with an Output Exploitation workshop, organised by Isle Utilities B.V., and focused on the importance of identifying the exploitation routes of the PROMICON results, whether commercial or not, from an early stage. All of the partners participated actively in the workshop through a practical exercise with the aim to define and discuss among the whole consortium the best exploitation routes of the project’s results. 

Next, a Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) workshop was organised by UPC. Participants used a hands-on approach to obtain the stakeholders that need to be considered to complete PROMICON's S-LCAs, as well as to define the indicators for the impact categories.  

Last but not least, followed a workshop on the Online Microbial Analysis Platform, coordinated by AIMEN Technology Centre. Partners had the opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of the current-edge hyperspectral technology and join a demonstrative practical session in the UPC laboratory facilities.

Collage of the partners participating in the 3 workshops

The day ended with a speech by the Project Coordinator Dr. Jens O. Krömer and a summary of all the important conclusions and moments of the meeting.

After a successful first Annual Meeting, the PROMICON partners continue pursuing the mission of transforming the bio-economy sector through the development of an efficient biotechnological production platform that creates synergy between strain engineering strategies with the robustness of microbiomes and their metabolic plasticity in organic conversions. 

A press release, reflecting the PROMICON project's Annual Meeting has been published in two leading science communication platforms, namely EurekAlert! and Alpha Galileo.  

Photo: Project partners at PROMICON's First Annual Meeting.