The development of Instruct is part of a larger story of huge leaps and bounds in the field of structural biology in the last 25 years. As the new millennium began, a few European scientists were inspired by a vision to coordinate expertise and technology within the growing field of structural proteomics. A consortium of nineteen structural biology laboratories was formed in 2002, funded by the EU FO5 programme, and named SPINE: Structural Proteomics in Europe. SPINE was a resounding success, initiating a series of EU funded structural proteomics projects and culminating in a special issue of Acta Crystallographica Section D (Vol 6(10), 2006) in which the key findings were published.
The Spine2-Complexes consortium, launched in 2006, soon gained an excellent reputation for delivering cutting edge technologies across European laboratories and for making them accessible through collaborative research to many scientists. Research tackled more difficult protein complexes relevant to human health and disease using automated and high throughput technologies and the development of 3D imaging.
The INSTRUCT consortium was established in 2008 responding to an opportunity to provide a single point of access to a wide range of high end technologies to academic and commercial scientists across Europe. The infrastructure would include setting up Instruct centres, training courses, internship opportunities, a biennial conference and ongoing technology development. With access to synchrotrons at Diamond UK and Grenoble in addition to a suite of other high-performance technologies, integrated research was possible, where complementary techniques led to breakthroughs such as (research highlight for Instruct).
In recognition of the role that INSTRUCT had in advancing structural biology across Europe, the group was awarded European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status in July 2017. The launch of Instruct-ERIC represents a welcome commitment to strengthening infrastructure, research collaborations and enabling the brightest minds to work together across borders, solving biological questions at the forefront of medical and life science research.