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Italy Signs on to Participate in ELIXIR Project

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The European Bioinformatics Institute said this week that Italy has agreed to participate in the European Life-science Infrastructure for Biological Information, or ELIXIR, project.

According to the EBI, Italy has signed a memorandum of understanding that formally commits the signatories to support the development of the pan-European bioinformatics infrastructure.

Anna Tramontano, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Rome, said in a statement that the Italian participation “represents an important opportunity for our national scientific community to contribute in a significant way to solving the critical problems in managing biological data, and transforming that raw data into knowledge.”

Søren Brunak, chair of the ELIXIR Interim Board, described Italy’s decision to participate in ELIXIR as a “positive” one, adding that “we need the competence offered by Italy to complement those offered by the other participating nations so that we may build a strong data infrastructure in Europe.”

“Italy has a long tradition in bioinformatics, and we can benefit from their expertise,” he said.

Italy joins existing ELIXIR contributors Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (BI 9/16/2011).

Janet Thornton, director of EBI and coordinator of ELIXIR’s preparatory phase, added that “with the support of 12 nations, we are confident that the construction phase of ELIXIR can move forward and we can get this crucial infrastructure off the ground.”

EBI recently broke ground for a new building on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, UK, that will house the ELIXIR infrastructure (BI 6/15/2012).

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