ELIXIR – European life science infrastructure for biological information
Launched in November 2007, the ELIXIR project is funded by the European Commission under the FP7 capacities programme as a 'preparatory phase project'.
To construct and operate a sustainable infrastructure for biological information in Europe to support life science research and its translation to medicine and the environment, the bio-industries and society.
There are 32 participant organisations from 14 different countries (plus EMBL). A full list can be found on the ELIXIR website.
We are leading the ELIXIR funding strategy (work package 5). It aims:
- To understand and document the challenges to be met to establish a pan-European infrastructure in bioinformatics in the light of current funding models at European and national levels
- To understand and document how these challenges might be addressed through a coordinated approach by ministries and funding agencies to funding a European Life-science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR)
- To segment these opportunities depending on the funding agencies that might participate
- To suggest indicative requirements in terms of facilities, budget and support for these different segments or methods for so estimating
- To make recommendations for the long term funding strategy and funding structures for ELIXIR based on these opportunities and segmentation and provide indicative timelines
We are also leading on the project for the UK on behalf of MRC, NERC and The Wellcome Trust.
ELIXIR is structured in 13 work packages:
- WP1: Project management (WP Lead: Andrew Lyall)
Steering Committee (Chair: Janet Thornton)
- WP2: ELIXIR strategy for data resources committee (Chair: Graham Cameron)
- WP3: Coordination and participation (WP Lead: Dominic Clark)
- WP4: Organisational & legal (WP Lead: Silke Schumacher)
- WP5: Elixir funding strategy (Chair: Alf Game, BBSRC)
- WP6: Physical infrastructure (Chair: Tim Hubbard, SANGER)
- WP7: Data integration & interoperability (Chair: Amos Bairoch, SIB)
- WP8: Scientific literature interdisciplinary interactions committee (Chair: Alfonso Valencia, CNIO)
- WP9: Interdisciplinary interactions between biological information and medical/health and nutrition information committee (Chair: Johan van der Lei, ERASMUS)
- WP10: Interdisciplinary interactions with chemical, plant, environmental & agriculture databases committee (Chair: Mark Forster, Syngenta Ltd)
- WP11: ELIXIR bioinformatics training strategy committee (Chair: Anna Tramontano, CRS4)
- WP12: Infrastructure for tools integration committee (Chair: Søren Brunak, DTU)
- WP13.1: Strategic review of cell phenotype image data resource (Chair: Wolfgang Huber)
- WP13.2: Pilot of the use of European supercomputing facilities (Chair: Sarah Hunter)
- WP13.3: Assessment of European resources for systems biology (Chair: Nicolas le Novere)
- WP13.4: ELIXIR EB-eye feasibility study (Chair: Rodrigo Lopez)
- WP13.5: European genotype archive (Chair: Paul Flicek)
ELIXIR Business Case 2011
In February 2011 the ELIXIR Steering Committee published the ELIXIR Business case (see external links), outlining the proposed structure, and legal and governance organisation for ELIXIR, and invited countries to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as the first steps towards negotiations for the construction of ELIXIR.
As of November 2011, 10 countries and EMBL have signed a MoU stating their commitment to making ELIXIR a reality: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Several other countries are expected to join in the near future; all European countries are invited to engage with ELIXIR.
Significant financial contributions towards the construction of ELIXIR nodes throughout Europe have already been made by Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The operational costs of the hub will be met by shared contributions from participating countries.
UK Large Facilities Capital Fund investment for the UK contribution to the ELIXIR Technical Hub project and Data Centre Capacity project at the EBI
The UK Government's formal confirmation of the £75M capital funding commitment from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' Large Facilities Capital Fund for the UK contribution to the ELIXIR Technical Hub project and Data Centre Capacity project at the EBI on 5 December 2011, as part of the UK Government's new 'Strategy for UK Life Sciences' which was announced in a speech in by the Prime Minister.
The project is also supported by the Medical Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and The Wellcome Trust. EMBL-EBI will host the future central hub of ELIXIR and BBSRC (see press release in related links) is the leading funding body for its construction.
BBSRC has already funded the ELIXIR programme with a £10M investment to EMBL-EBI, based at Hinxton near Cambridge, to permit a dramatic increase in the Institute's data storage and handling capacity (see second press release in related links).