The UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, BBSRC, has signed the European Consortium Agreement, an understanding that forms the legal basis for the European Life Science Infrastructure for Biological Information consortium, establishes its organizational structure, and commits signatories to providing support for the project.
In a statement, Douglas Kell, BBSRC's chief executive, said that signing the agreement shows BBSRC's and, by extension, the UK's "commitment to a successful response to the informatics opportunities that are available in order to achieve maximum scientific impact for the benefit of us all." He noted that "without significant investment in bioinformatics services and improved skills training throughout Europe, we will rapidly lose the capacity to provide the research community with access to the treasure trove of public data in the life sciences."
The ECA will come into effect once it has been ratified by five countries. This is expected to happen by late 2013. The agreement has also been signed by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Council. It ratified the ECA during a meeting in Heidelberg, Germany last June.