BBSRC pours funds into bioscience datahandling

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The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has awarded £10m to bioscience data handling project 'ELIXIR', the European Life-Science Infrastructure for Biological Information.

Hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the project aims to build a sustainable infrastructure for biological information in Europe thereby supporting future life science research.

While this initial award will boost the UK-based Institute’s data storage and handling capacity, the estimated total cost of fully establishing ELIXIR is more than £200m.

'The UK’s decision to invest in ELIXIR is an important milestone in creating the infrastructure for biological information in Europe,' said EMBL-EBI director and ELIXIR coordinator, Professor Janet Thornton. 'In particular it means that we will be able to implement next-generation datahandling 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.'

Professor Doug Kell, chief executive of BBSRC, added: '[Bioscience] 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. The UK will now be at the hub of an exciting European partnership to accelerate the application of science in these and other areas.”