This website has been developed and is being maintained on behalf of ESFRI by the StR-ESFRI project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n° 654213
A sustainable infrastructure for interoperability of public biological and biomedical data resources
The distributed infrastructure for life-science information (ELIXIR) is a unique initiative that consolidates national centres, services, and core bioinformatics resources into a single, coordinated infrastructure. ELIXIR coordinates and develops life science resources across Europe so that researchers can more easily find, analyse and share data, exchange expertise, and implement best practices, and gain greater insights into how living organisms work. By coordinating these resources, ELIXIR helps address the Grand Challenges across life sciences, from marine research – via plants and agriculture – to health research and medical sciences.
In 2013, ELIXIR became a permanent legal entity following the ratification of the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement (ECA) by EMBL and the first funding five countries. At present, ELIXIR includes 20 countries and an inter-governmental organisation (EMBL) that have signed the ECA and are full members of the ELIXIR Board. In addition, one country is an Observer.
ELIXIR is a distributed Research Infrastructures, which builds on existing data resources and services across Europe. It follows a Hub and Nodes model, with a single Hub located alongside EMBL-EBI at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton (Cambridge, UK) and a growing number of Nodes located at centres of excellence throughout Europe, which coordinate nationally the bioinformatics services within that country.
The ELIXIR Hub accommodates the ELIXIR Executive Management and the administrative staff, coordinates and supports integration of services run from the ELIXIR Nodes, has overall responsibility for developing and delivering the ELIXIR Programme and managing ELIXIR-funded activities carried out by Nodes. The Hub coordinates and supports ELIXIR’s governance bodies and technical committees works with other biomedical science infrastructures to help address the challenges of Big Data together. It leads ELIXIR’s communications and external relations activities, including support to industry supports the institutions within the Node, and collaborates with national and European funders and policy-makers.
ELIXIR Nodes, sited throughout ELIXIR Members’ countries, run the resources and services that are part of ELIXIR infrastructure. An ELIXIR Node is a collection of research institutes within a member country and each Node has a lead institute that oversees the work of that Node. The Nodes build on the strengths of the scientific communities of that country. Resources include: safe and secure data repositories; added-value databases providing researchers with access to well curated data; bio-compute centres for cloud computing and analysis; services for the integration of data, software, tools and resources; education and training; standards, ontology and data management expertise.
ELIXIR ensures that users – individual scientists, large consortia or indeed other Research Infrastructures – can easily access data resources that are sustainable, built on strong community standards, and safeguarded in the long-term.
Industry’s interest in, and usage of, European bioinformatics resources is high as demonstrated by the millions of hits from commercial users to the websites of ELIXIR Nodes and the number of patents awarded that reference life science databases. ELIXIR’s Innovation and SME programme ensures that high-tech companies across Europe can access the services run by ELIXIR partners; over one hundred such companies have so far benefitted from bespoke events targeting the pharma and agri-tech sectors.
Open life science data drives major societal value and truly facilitates researchers to solve the Grand Challenges. For example, the identification of novel risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease based on a large-scale meta-analysis are founded on prior estimates on human genetic variation calculated from public datasets. The development and validation of drug-design tools, many of which have been successfully commercialised, has relied on carefully curated datasets extracted from publicly archived data resources such as the Protein Data Bank.
Wellcome Genome Campus
Hinxton, United Kingdom