MOSAICS Development of a system for appropriate management of access to and transfer of microbiological resources



Project description

Culture collections of micro-organisms are important interfaces between providers and users of microbiological resources. They:

  • conserve our microbial heritage
  • preserve more than 1.000.000 cultures
  • supply authentic cultures
  • offer valuable services
  • act as reference centres
  • make microbiological material and related information available for all kind of scientific, industrial, and educational purposes.

Culture collections thus face primarily scientific and technical challenges, but must also overcome legal and administrative hurdles to give appropriate access to microbiological resources.


The legal and administrative challenges

Culture collections wonder how to implement in an efficient way, and at affordable cost, the numerous and diverse international, supra-national, and national rules regulating the flows and uses of biological resources, from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to the application of intellectual property rights (IPR). In addition, security concerns now require extra attention and appropriate precautions.

To address this concern, a consortium of fifteen microbiological resources providers and users, coordinated by the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM), has launched the MOSAICS project in 2004. MOSAICS stands for “Microorganisms Sustainable use and Access management Integrated Conveyance System”. It is funded by the Directorate General Research of the European Commission, under the Sixth Framework Program, in the scope of the Food Quality and Safety priority. The consortium of the MOSAICS project is made of partners from developed and developing countries, including culture collections, international organizations, branch federations and specialized research institutes.


MOSAICS, three key issues - three parts

Already in 1999, before MOSAICS, the Directorate General Research supported a project, MOSAICC, to develop a code of conduct as a practical tool for microbiologists to implement the CBD. This project was also coordinated by the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM) and has identified three necessary features for a system to implement coherently the CBD provisions on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS), IPR and other relevant regulations concerning access and use of (micro)biological resources.

MOSAICS central objective is the development of such an integrated conveyance system that:

  • has reliable tools to evaluate the economic value of microbiological resources (EVA)
  • disposes of validated model documents with standard provisions to enable tracking via an uncomplicated procedure, widely applied by microbiologists (ADAM)
  • combines valuation and tracking in one system for trading of microbiological resources, with balanced benefit sharing for those that are entitled to be rewarded for the services and products they provide to society (ICS)


Economic valuation of microbiological resources (EVA)

Whatever form benefit sharing takes, there is a need for reliable methods to value the (micro) biological resources, since benefit sharing presupposes that there is an agreement on the value of the exchanged goods. At present time, documentation on economic valuation of microbiological resources can hardly be found. Methods applied to other natural resources are tested to check their validity for use with microbiological resources.


Material Transfer Agreement with standard contents (ADAM)

To abide by the CBD rules of access and to enable benefit sharing to take place, the key issue is tracking of (micro) biological resources. The MOSAICS procedure can be summarized as follows: register the source of the (micro) biological resource and track it up to its end destination. MOSAICS proposes standard contents for transfer documents, usually called Material Transfer Agreement (MTA), that register the original source and specify the conditions of transfer. MOSAICS work takes into consideration the activities in and around the CBD bodies, and other international initiatives related with management of resources such as the OECD Biological Resources Centers (BRC) Task Force, and the development of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).


Easy procedure for transfer of microbiological resources - Integrated Conveyance System (ICS)

Documents like MTAs already exist; the main contribution of MOSAICS is to get more uniformity in their contents and to define the minimum set of information. MOSAICS also aims at organizing the electronic handling of these digitalized documents combined with identification codes, to enable fast, cost-effective, and reliable management of the (micro)biological resources and to provide the information related to their transfer to the rightful stakeholders. Such a system is not a direct control tool. Systems like MOSAICS can help culture collections and biotechnological industries in gaining competitive advantage in bio-prospecting activities.



Participant Nr

Participant name

Participant short name


Contact person


Public Planning Service-  Science Policy


Rue de la Science 8
1000 Brussels

Mr. Philippe Desmeth
Phone: +32 2 238 37 13
Fax: +32 2 230 59 12


CABI Bioscience UK Centre


Bakeham Lane
TW20 9TY Egham, Surrey
United Kingdom

Dr. David Smith
Phone: +44 1491 82 90 46
Fax: +44 1491 82 91 00


Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures


Uppsalalaan 8
PO Box 85167
3508 AD Utrecht

Dr. Joost Stalpers
Phone: +31 30 21 22 600
Fax: +31 30 25 12 097


Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique


Boulevard Omar Ibn Khattab 52
BP: 8027
10102 Rabat - Agdal

Prof. Mohamed Amar
Phone: +212 37 77 86 76


Catholic University of Peru


Av. Universitaria cdra. 18 s/n

Prof. Ana Maria Pacón
Phone: +51 1 448 30 10


Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen


Mascheroder Weg 1B
38124 Braunschweig

Dr. Vera Weihs
Phone: +49 531 26 16 254
Fax: +49 531 26 16 225


European Federation of Biotechnology


Altenbergrain 21
3013 Bern

Prof. Klaus Amman
Phone: +41 316 314 937
Fax: +41 316 314 993


Bioresource Collection & Research Center,
Food Industry Research & Development Institute


P.O. Box 246
Shih-Pin Road 331
30099 Hsinchu
Taiwan, R.O.C.

Ms. Yu-Fen Chen
Phone: +886 3 52 23 191 ext 233


Japan Bioindustry Association


Grand Building 8F
26-9 Hatchobori 2 – Chome – Chuo-ku

Dr. Seizo Sumida
Phone: +81 3 55 41 27 31
Fax: +81 55 41 27 37


Korean Institute for International Economic Policy


300-4 Yomgok-Dong
137-747 Seoul
R. Korea

Dr. Mikyung Yung
Phone: +822 34 60 11 82
Fax: +822 34 60 11 33


UNESCO – Microbial Resources Centres Network

Int’l Organisation

Rue Miollis 1
75732 Cedex 15


Miss Lucy Hoareau
Phone: +33 1 456 83 895
Fax: +33 1 456 85 816


Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research


35M 3 Technopolis
Khlong 5
Khlong Luang
12120 Pathum Thani

Dr. Vullapa Arunpairojana
Phone: +66 2 577 90 32
Fax: +66 2 577 90 31


University of Ljubljana - Fac. Natural Sciences & Engineering


Askerceva 12

Prof. Bojana Boh
Phone: +386 1 25 14 326
Fax: +386 1 42 58 684


United Nation University

Int’l Organisation

Pacifico – Yokohama
1-1-1           Minato Mirai
220-8502 Yokohama

Phone: +81 45 221 23 00 / 10
Fax: +81 45 221 23 03


World Federation for Cultures Collections

Int’l Union

Bakeham Lane
TW20 9TY Egham, Surrey
United Kingdom

Dr. David Smith
Phone: +44 1491 82 90 46
Fax: +44 1491 82 91 00


Participants description

Participant 1, the co-ordinator (PPS-SP - Federal Public Planning Service – Science Policy, Belgium) more precisely, the BCCM - Belgian Coordinated Collections of Micro-organisms funded by PPS-SP, has been  BCCM will participate in the organisation of seminars, working groups meetings and electronic discussion forum. It will be involved in support activities of fact findings & monitoring, studies & analysis to the extent of its expertise gained in particular in the MOSAICC and WIPMICRO MOSAICC projects, as member of international scientific federations and as public administration for scientific affairs.

Participant 2 (CABI Bioscience, United Kingdom, Int’l) integrates four former international institutes, of Biological Control (IIBC), of Entomology (IIE), of Parasitology (IIP) and Mycology (IMI). It regroups scientists dedicated to agricultural sustainability and biological diversity. It operates from six centres worldwide, in Kenya, Malaysia, Trinidad, Pakistan, Switzerland and the UK, and offices in China, India and the USA. It has partnerships with many global organisations.

Participants 3 (CBS - Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Netherlands) is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). It maintains a world-renowned collection of living filamentous fungi, yeasts and bacteria. The research programs focus on taxonomy and on functional aspects of fungal biology and ecology, with specific expertise in fermented food. It is a centre of expertise, advising on mycological problems of food or health-related nature..

Participant 4 (CNRST - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique, Morocco) is a public institute of the Ministry of Scientific Research. It has recently supervised the set up of the Moroccan micro-biological resources centre and contributed to the development of appropriate laws on ABS and IPR  in Morocco, with the support of BCCM. It hosts also the Moroccan internet facility “MARWAN”. In a synergetic effort with MOSAICS, it has hosted host an international training course in May 2004 where MOSAICS was be promoted in the context of legal framework development in southern countries.

Participant 5 (CUP - Catholic University of Peru, Peru), more specifically its School of Law has a unique expertise in ABS policy in Latin-America. The ANDEAN Pact laws concerning ABS represent one of the best structured legal frameworks on ABS, it must be taken into consideration when designing procedures and model documents for ABS. This participant was involved in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations, as Andean representative, including for ABS matters.

Participant 6 (DSMZ - Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen, Germany) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the study and distribution of bacteria, archaea, fungi, plasmids, phages, human and animal cell lines, plant cell cultures and plant viruses. It is recognized by the European Commission as Large Scale Facility within the Framework of the "Human Potential Programme - Access to Infrastructures". It offers facilities for research and training financed by EC Grants available to scientists from member states of the European Union and Associated States.

Participant 7 (EFB - European Federation of Biotechnology,  Swiss, Int’l) will be active through its section on biodiversity that will relay information to and from EFB. The head of the Biodiversity section is also EFB executive board member. EFB counts presently 175 institutional members from 31 European and 7 Non-European countries. More than 3000 personal members from 37 European and 38 Non-European countries join EFB. Industry members will play an important role in all WP of EVa activity.

Participant 8 (FIRDI - Food Industry Research & Development Institute, R.O.C Taiwan) has expertise in agro-food industry; it is a key partner to help the consortium to focus on the specific needs of the Food Quality and Safety priority in the field of ABS.  FIRDI is a non-profit legal entity with financial support from private and public institutions. This Institute helps to establish the general policy of food industry development and execute R&D services to the food industry (development of new technology, sanitation and quality of processed foods, etc) including training programs and seminars.

Participant 9 (JBA - Japan Bioindustry Association, Japan). JBA has a membership of about 300 industrial companies, 100 public organizations and 1300 individuals from universities, making JBA a forum on bioscience and industry. JBA functions as a think tank and platform for communication between scientists, technologist, policymakers and managers.

Participant 10 (KIEP – Korean Institute for International Economic Policy, R. Korea) is an autonomous, government funded, non-profit economic research institute. It carries out economic, international policy and co-operation studies, including on socialist economies in transition. It is also a National Research Centre on WTO DDA (Doha Development Agenda, for its expertise in world economic trends and economic policy issues.

Participant 11 (UNESCO – MIRCEN Microbial Resources Centres, Int’l Organisation) is a network of 34 academic and research centres in developed and developing countries. These centres participate in a global effort in sustainable use of microbial resources for human progress, through international scientific co-operation. The global MIRCEN network programme embodies research and training programmes that are carried out within the framework of UNESCO's regular programme activities.

Participant 12 (TISTR – Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, Thailand) is a public institution hosting the Bangkok MIRCEN (see Participant 12) that beside culture collections activities provides training courses and workshops. It has yet trained scientists from 11 countries and collaborates with the Asian Network on Microbial Research (ANMR) operating in 6 ASEAN countries. It has recently participated to the set up of the national mechanism for microbial diversity/collection management designed to facilitate access to, and dissemination/distribution of, microbial resources in and out the country.

Participant 13 (UL University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Natural Sciences & Engineering, Slovenia) hosts the Specialised Information Centre for Science (SICS) and the International Centre for Chemical Studies (ICCS). It is also a MIRCEN member. It has developed information methodology and its application in education and research. SICS is developing methodologies and tools for a co-ordinated data processing. ICCS is the focal point of an international network of more than 100 universities, private and public research institutes world-wide. It has yet organised more than 60 international expert meetings with participants from 80 countries. It has published numerous proceedings, including document “University-Industry-Government Co-operation: How to Make it Work?”.

Participants 14 (UNU- United Nation University, Int’l Organisation) is one of the twelve research and training centres within the UNU system. Its mission is to undertake research and postgraduate education on issues at the forefront of knowledge, policy development and learning. It has made several surveys on ABS policy and is familiar to the CBD forum.

Participant 15 (WFCC -World Federation for Cultures Collections, Int’l Union) is a Federation within the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS). WFCC is concerned with the study, maintenance and distribution of microbes and cultured cells. The WFCC pioneered the development of an international database on culture resources world-wide: the WFCC World Data Centre for Micro-organisms (WDCM). This data resource has records of 471 culture collections from 61 countries.


Documents & reports

General documents

MOSAICS - Development of a system for appropriate management of access to and transfer of microbiological resources

Big benefits on a microbial scale


ICS, 5 October 2005


Integrated Conveyance System


Coordination & Contact

Philippe Desmeth
Belgian Coordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM)
Belgian Science Policy Office, Louise Avenue 231, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 238.37.13