Next generation imaging for biology across scales

IMAGINE will provide technologies to probe structure and function of biological specimens in their natural context


The mission of the IMAGINE consortium is to develop the technologies needed to bridge the molecular scale of structure with the organismal scale of function and to bring those technologies not only to highly specialised central facilities and standard laboratory models, but also out in the field, at Europe’s coastline and on the ocean.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the IMAGINE consortium brings together leading European technology developing institutions, with leading industrial companies and the pan-European Research Infrastructures (RIs) in structural biology, bioimaging and marine biology.


The life science community increasingly relies on RIs to access ever more complex and rapidly developing scientific instruments. IMAGINE technologies are currently at the cutting edge of physics and engineering and therefore only available in isolation and to specialists.

The project aims to bring them to the European life science user community at large by developing and validating them for service readiness, so that they can be provided as future services by Europe’s Research Infrastructures (RIs). To this end, the project will train RI staff on the operation and use of the IMAGINE technologies.

To promote broad dissemination as commercial instruments, IMAGINE will develop its technologies jointly between academia and industry promoting open innovation with key instrumentation manufacturers in the imaging field.

The scale-crossing imaging technologies developed by IMAGINE will be critical to empower ground breaking research in Europe, that is so urgently needed to address some of the biggest challenges our societies will face in the future.

Technology development

Development of innovative cross-scale imaging instrumentation, tools and methods, which will advance the state-of-the-art of the participating pan-European RIs and show their transformative operational potential for the Life Sciences to address major socio-economic challenges of human and planetary health

Validation and Service Integration

Validate the newly developed imaging technologies for service readiness in RIs and integrate them across RIs, to provide new and improved services to a wider community of academic and industrial users  


Train RI staff in the operation and use of the newly developed imaging technologies


Create an effective Open Innovation ecosystem in the multi-stakeholder industry-academia technology development environment around RIs, to fully realise the innovative potential for industrial exploitation of new imaging technologies and rapidly place new products on the market

Technology Focus

IMAGINE focuses on developing and integrating four major disruptive microscopy technologies, namely: X-ray imaging, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), cryo- and dynamic super-resolution microscopy (SRM) and large volume intravital imaging.

It will furthermore develop the AI-powered image analysis and data integration/sharing capabilities, that are needed to correlate these technologies and make their data widely available.

To harness their power for some of the most pressing societal challenges, IMAGINE will prepare its new imaging technologies to be deployed in the field, on Europe’s seas and coastlines, so that the collection of environmental specimens in their natural context can be coupled with their study by highest resolution imaging technologies.

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This project is funded by the European Union (GA#101094250). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.