The next challenge facing structural biologists is to understand biological processes at cellular and organism scales. This is one of the main goals of integrated structural biology which encompasses a variety of high-tech methods for sample generation and characterisation (e.g. structure determination, complex assembly, dynamics, function and interactions). These studies often require expensive equipment, for example synchrotron beamlines, high-field NMR and electron microscopes, as well as a knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry.
Grenoble has a long history of this type of research thanks to its large research instruments at the ESRF and ILL; since 2002 biological science around these international centres has been organised by the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB). Two French research units of the PSB, the Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS; CEA-CNRS-UJF) and the Unit of Virus Host Cell Interactions (UVHCI; CNRS-EMBL-UJF) have recently financed upgrades to many of their technical platforms through FRISBI. The majority of the platforms had previously obtained ISO 9001 certification in July 2011. In 2013, they have been organised into a new Mixed Service Unit (UMS 3518; CNRS-CEA-UJF-EMBL) that is coordinating supported user access under FRISBI and European programs.