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Finland Adds $2.6M for European Translational Research Effort

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Finland has invested €1.9 million ($2.6 million) to support a pan-European pilot project that will involve bioinformatics, biobanking, and translational research efforts in order to ensure that its scientists are involved in developing European biomedical infrastructures, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (MBL) said today.

The Ministry of Education gave €1 million of the funding, and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, the IT Center for Science, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare provided €850,000 to the project.

Future funding levels for the project, which aims to support the synergies that could arise from collaborative biobanking, bioinformatics, and translational studies, has been left open for now and will depend on how the pilot phase develops.

A central goal is to link the assets of the European Life Sciences Infrastructure for Biological Innovation (ELIXIR), the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI), and to translate results for diagnostic and biomarker uses at the European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure in Medicine (EATRIS).

"A small country should concentrate its investments in the European dimension to those areas that are of critical importance and where synergies may arise," Professor Olli Kallioniemi of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland said in a statement. "Finland has a long tradition of collecting biobank samples and associated clinical as well as molecular profile information."

"The close interaction between the biomedical research infrastructures in Finland will help Europe to develop a fully integrated approach to handling heterogeneous data and exploiting it for translational research," EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute Director and ELIXIR coordinator Janet Thornton said in a statement.