The Arabidopsis Information Resource database has signed on Dow AgroSciences and Syngenta Biotechnology as its first commercial benefactors under a corporate sponsorship program that it launched last month.
TAIR, hosted by the Carnegie Institution, is also receiving support from the Gregor Mendel Institute, a public research institute affiliated with the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
The resource began considering a corporate sponsorship model earlier this year after the National Science Foundation decided to phase out its funding by 2013 (BI 03/19/2010).
At the time, TAIR principal investigator Eva Huala told BioInform that TAIR had already received early indications of interest from some companies.
TAIR officially kicked off the sponsorship program on July 23. In a note on its website, it stated that the sponsorship model is "preferable to implementing a subscription requirement for the private sector because it will allow us to keep TAIR open and free of login requirements, facilitating the free exploration of data by all scientists."
In a statement issued this week, Huala said that the contributions from the three sponsors "will have a significant impact on our ability to maintain the high-quality datasets researchers depend on" and will "make it easier to sustain TAIR over the long term."
She added that TAIR hopes "to see more in the coming months."
The actual amounts of the grants were not disclosed. According to the program's website, there are four levels of sponsorship: TAIR Friends, who contribute $5,000 to $9,999 per year; TAIR Supporters, who contribute $10,000 to $24,999 per year; TAIR Patrons, who contribute $25,000 to $49,999 per year; and TAIR Partners, who contribute $50,000 or more per year.