Ireland to get access to European life sciences data through Elixir

28 Jul 2016

Irish researchers and companies working within the life sciences sector in Ireland are to get access to a European network of shared data.

The Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has announced that Ireland has become the 19th organisation to join Elixir. With this membership comes access to Elixir’s growing infrastructure, which integrates research data from across Europe and ensures that it is easily accessible to members.

As a European foundation, Elixir co-ordinates, integrates and sustains bioinformatics resources across its existing 18 member states, and enables users in academia and industry to access vital data, tools, standards, compute and training services for their research.

Future Human

In the past few years, developments in genome sequencing have led to a rapid growth in life sciences data, which can be valuable for research projects.

Taking a recent example from Ireland, Trinity College Dublin announced that it had sequenced the genomes of ancient Irish farmers, discovering that haemochromatosis (known as the ‘Celtic curse’) was inherited by people from the Pontic Steppe 4,000 years ago.

Strengthening international research

Elixir was recently awarded €19m from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme to accelerate the implementation of Europe’s life sciences data infrastructure over the next four years.

Commenting on the membership, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, said: “My department has invested significantly and consistently over many years, through our agencies, in the life sciences. As a consequence, Ireland now has world-leading capability in this field.

“Membership of Elixir will allow us to capitalise on this accomplishment, to develop it further and to strengthen our international research collaboration in the life sciences.”

Adding to this, Dr Niklas Blomberg, director of Elixir said: “I am delighted that Ireland has progressed to become a full member in Elixir, and I look forward to working with the Irish community to fully integrate the node into Elixir’s activities.

“Ireland’s expertise in bioinformatics, systems biology and data analysis will benefit both the local research community in Ireland and the wider life sciences community across Europe.”

Sequencing card image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic