UK biotechnology investment

The UK has made its first substantial commitment to a major emerging pan-European science project with a £10m investment by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.


The UK has made its first substantial commitment to a major emerging pan-European science project with a £10m investment by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).



The BBSRC has awarded funding to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), based at Hinxton near Cambridge, to help it significantly increase its data storage and handling capacity.



The funding is the first step in developing the existing data resources and IT infrastructure of EMBL-EBI towards its planned role as the central hub of the emerging European Life-Science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR).



Modern bioscience research generates vast quantities of data. To use the data efficiently and to accelerate bioscience advances, such as the development of drugs and therapies or higher yielding crops, scientists require better ways to deal with this avalanche of information.



ELIXIR is an initiative involving 32 partners from 13 countries aimed at establishing a sustainably funded infrastructure for biological information in Europe. It will support life-science research and its applications to medicine, agriculture and food security, the environment, the bio-industries and society.



The UK‘s involvement in ELIXIR is supported by the BBSRC, the MRC, the NERC and the Wellcome Trust.



Prof Janet Thornton, EMBL-EBI director and ELIXIR coordinator, said: ‘The UK‘s decision to invest in ELIXIR is an important milestone in creating the infrastructure for biological information in Europe.



‘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.


‘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.’