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ELIXIR Board members at today's meeting in Hinxton, UK . Photo: Elixir.

Spain and France join the European Consortium Elixir for managing and analysing biological data

At their meeting today in Hinxton (UK), the Board unanimously accepted Spain and France as full members of Elixir, the largest infrastructure of life science data in Europe. The National Bioinformatics Institute (INB), which acts as the Spanish scientific node, will coordinate the Spanish scientific partner institutions. These comprise top-level institutions such as CNAG-CRG and IRB Barcelona, located at PCB. The National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCII) will coordinate the Spanish scientific partner institutions.


Until now, Spain had participated in the Elixir preparatory phase as an Observer country. Spain is represented within Elixir by the National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCII), under the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Entering this partnership will allow Spain to strengthen its ties with Europe and to lead large-scale projects in biomedicine, such as those related to human genomic diseases.

The National Bioinformatics Institute (INB),  the Spanish scientific node, comprise top-level institutions such as the National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) –which includes the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG)-, the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center–Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS).

INB’s mission is to transfer the Elixir expertise to the laboratories of research institutions and businesses. It will coordinate, integrate and develop Spanish bioinformatics resources in genomics, proteomics, translational medicine, and precision/personalized medicine within the international context of Elixir. Spanish scientists have already collaborated in the Elixir Pilot action with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). under the leadership of CRG, to develop the European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA).


The integration of Europe’s bioinformatics resources

Elixir is an inter-governmental organisation which builds on existing data resources and services within Europe to aim is to manage, exploit, and distribute the massive amounts of information generated currently by biomedical research. Elixir was created in December 2013 as an international consortium. Until now, its fully operational members have comprised the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and eleven countries: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

Spanish participation in Elixir has been promoted by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) through its policy to reinforce the internationalization of Spanish science and innovativeness in science and technology. Elixir s included in the Roadmap of Research Infrastructures from the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), and with a very high priority in the Spanish Roadmap. Experts believe that the contribution of this infrastructure is essential for the development of medicine and systems biology.

In 2015, the European Commission (EC) recognized the fundamental role that Elixir plays in developing European molecular biology and biomedicine with an H2020 project for 19 million euros, which aims to promote ELIXIR’s implementation over the next four years.


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