The objective of the MITOEAGLE network is to improve our knowledge on mitochondrial function in health and disease related to Evolution, Age, Gender, Lifestyle and Environment. Every study of mitochondrial (mt) function and disease is faced with EAGLE as the essential background conditions characterizing the individual patient, subject, study group, species, tissue or even cell line. To address the complex interrelationships of EAGLE with an initial focus on humans and rodent models, the network will enhance the value of each individual study by starting to analyse and catalog data beyond the published record. Highlighting the topic of gender and mitochondrial function, unique new information will emerge on human biology from the development of a European reference database. Protocols, technologies and standard procedures will be compared and strategies defined for improvement of quality control. An inter-laboratory ring test will be established as a world-wide innovation in the field of mitochondrial respiratory physiology. The expertise gained and new standards developed will be integrated into a strategic dissemination and education programme for mitochondrial phenotyping, aiming at an expanding European and MitoGlobal EAGLE network where researchers collaborate on mapping mitochondrial physiology and medicine, complementary to established mtDNA databases.