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UK Grants $14.3M for EBI Informatics Boost

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The UK government has granted €10 million ($14.3 million) to ramp up life sciences data resources at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council granted the funds to EMBL-EBI to "permit a dramatic increase in the in the Institute's data storage and handling capacity," BBSRC said today.

This funding is the first step in developing EBI's data resources so it can serve as the hub of the European Life-Science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR), a multi-national initiative that BBSRC estimates may cost over €200 million. The ELIXIR program involves 32 partners from 13 countries and is focused on supporting life sciences applications for medicine, agriculture, food security, the environment, and bio industries.

"UK science funders and EMBL-EBI are committed to ensuring that our researchers can use the latest computational technologies to store, access and analyze the huge amounts of data generated in contemporary bioscience, and thereby to turn them into knowledge and information," BBSRC CEO Douglas Kell said in a statement.

"These data hold the key to tackling some of our most pressing challenges such as feeding an expanding world population, coping with climate change and providing new, high-efficacy therapeutics with minimal side effects," he added.

"The EBI will form the hub of a network of ELIXIR nodes that will empower European science at the interface of biology, computing and data management – one of the most vibrant areas of contemporary research," explained Janet Thornton, who is EMBL-EBI's director and its ELIXIR coordinator. "In particular it means that we will be able to implement next-generation data-handling and storage solutions, which will be able to cope with the flood of biological data and fuel future developments in basic biology, medicine, agriculture and environmental sciences."

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