ELIXIR providing a sustainable infrastructure for life science data for all life science projects at European scale

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ELIXIR: providing a sustainable infrastructure for life science data for all life science projects at European scale

ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for life science data, has worked to bring Europe’s national centers and core bioinformatics resources into a single, coordinated infrastructure since its official launch in December 2013. ELIXIR invests in and aims to sustain vital resources of long-established national bioinformatics infrastructures and ensure a level of interoperability that facilitates scientific discovery. 

ELIXIR Nodes run the resources and services that are part of ELIXIR

ELIXIR is connecting national bioinformatic networks, known within ELIXIR as Nodes. The ELIXIR Node in Finland is hosted at CSC - IT Center for Science and provides cloud and storage resource and training for life sciences, with integrated computational access to very large biological data resources. ELIXIR aims to ensure that all life science projects, irrespective of their membership status with respect to ELIXIR, have access to advanced, scalable and long-term sustainable infrastructure across Europe.

Engagement through Platforms and Communities

ELIXIR facilitates collaboration between its member institutes and researchers with two intersecting organizational groupings, the Platforms and the Communities. 

The ELIXIR Platforms (Data, Compute, Interoperability, Tools and Training) are supported by Technical Coordinators located at the ELIXIR Headquarters, with vision and strategy led by senior scientists in the Nodes. As part of joining ELIXIR, each Node contributes a set of services that are aligned with the Platforms, e.g. CSC Cloud (Compute Platform—ELIXIR Finland).

The ELIXIR Communities are established and driven by researchers and bioinformaticians in the Nodes. They identify the needs of domain or technology specific research around a specific theme, e.g. metabolomics, microbial biotechnology. ELIXIR has a total of eleven Communities. 

ELIXIR has a total of eleven Communities.

Altogether ELIXIR Communities and Platforms illustrate how ELIXIR fosters long-term collaborations that connect national resources into transnational infrastructure.

Conclusions and future collaborations 

In conclusion, ELIXIR is established as a sustainable infrastructure for managing and analyzing large and geographically distributed datasets based on global standards and shared components that add value to national investments. The commitment from ELIXIR’s member countries, as described in the ELIXIR 2019–2023 Programme is to jointly provide services that enable European researchers and their collaborators to routinely access, analyze and reuse large, complex and geographically distributed datasets.

Over the next 5 years, ELIXIR will deepen the existing partnerships and open up collaborations with new areas such as single-cell genomics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and biodiversity research, to drive the vision to support life science research and its translation to society, the bioindustry, environment and medicine.

– These collaborations, and new data analysis methods with appropriate security are coupled to high-performance computing power at the ELIXIR Finland node operated by CSC. This enables researchers, for example, to increase speed and accuracy of diagnosis of diseases, eventually leading to more personalized healthcare, says Director Tommi Nyrönen (CSC), the Head of Node of ELIXIR Finland.

Further information:

Jennifer Harrow, Rachel Drysdale, Andrew Smith, Susanna Repo, Jerry Lanfear, Niklas Blomberg, ELIXIR: providing a sustainable infrastructure for life science data at European scale, Bioinformatics, 2021;, btab481, https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btab481

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