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Britains s BBSRC Launches New Program to Support Bioinformatics and Grid Computing

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The UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is launching a new program in Bioinformatics and E-Science.

The program has a budget of over 8 million pounds (US$11.4 million) to support bioinformatics research in priority areas including genomics, structural biology, dynamic processes in cells, and biodiversity.

The BBSRC is now accepting grant applications in a number of areas, including development and use of bioinformatics tools to solve high-priority biological problems; consortia to address data standards and curation; and summer schools to provide training in the use of bioinformatics and e-science tools for BBSRC-sponsored scientists.

The closing date for applications is August 15, 2001.

The BBSRC program will also support research into the application of Grid technology — wide-area distributed computing — to biological science. The BBSRC expects Grid technology to power the next-generation Web, while increasing the amount of computing power available, the volume of data that can be handled and stored, and the speed with which data can be transferred.

The objectives of the BBSRC Bioinformatics and E-Science program include: supporting the development and use of algorithms, software, and analytical methods to solve defined biological problems; to facilitate the wide dissemination and use of software and data collections generated by the program; and to support communities of scientists to establish common electronic data standards and to curate the data in a way that is compatible with the widest possible sharing of this data.

It is expected that the program will support a small number of “test-bed” Grids in genomics, structural biology, cellular processes, or biodiversity, and that at least two summer schools will be supported.

— BT

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