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ELIXIR accelerates with major Horizon 2020 funding


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ELIXIR, the biggest life-science data infrastructure in Europe, will receive €19 million for the next four years

The CNIO coordinates the Spanish node, which includes six organizations and research centres

ELIXIR has been awarded €19 million from the EU to accelerate the implementation of Europe’s life-science data infrastructure over the next four years. From September 2015, ‘ELIXIR-EXCELERATE’ will facilitate the integration of Europe’s bioinformatics resources, supporting all sectors of life-science R&D. It will deliver excellence to ELIXIR’s users by fast-tracking the development and deployment of essential data services.

EXCELERATE funding will help ELIXIR coordinate and extend national and international data resources to ensure the delivery of world-leading life-science data services. It will support a pan-European training programme, anchored in national infrastructures, to increase bioinformatics capacity and competency. It will also provide efficiencies in management and operation throughout the infrastructure, which is distributed amongst 17 countries.

Spanish participation in ELIXIR is based on an agreement between the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), and it is coordinated through the National Bioinformatics Institute (INB), whose central node is hosted at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO). In EXCELERATE, Spain leads the work packages on the evaluation of bioinformatics methods, the infrastructure for the study of rare diseases and the implementation of the genomics database of medical interest, EGA.

ELIXIR Director Niklas Blomberg says, “I am delighted that the EU is supporting this high-impact project. In the age of big data, it is critical that we can all make the most of the bioinformatics capacity that has been developed in each of our member states. This will make a difference to Europe’s 500,000 life-science researchers, who need public research data to be managed well over the long term so it can be reused to maximum effect. EXCELERATE will bring about a step change in how bioinformatics services are coordinated across Europe, ensuring they are integrated, grow in step with the advent of new technologies, and maintained appropriately over the long term.”

Dedicated use cases, defined in close partnership with diverse research communities, will help ELIXIR grow in keeping with the needs of scientists working on rare diseases, biomedical and human genomics, marine and plant sciences and other specialized areas. This will ensure that ELIXIR’s services for data, tools, interoperability, compute, training and industry support are rooted in user needs, and can deliver benefits to existing and future research projects.


ELIXIR was invited to apply to a dedicated call within Horizon 2020 following the ESFRI and European Council decision in 2014 to categorize ELIXIR as one of Europe’s three priority new Research Infrastructures: https://www.elixir-europe.org/news/elixir-prioritised-esfri. ELIXIR-EXCELERATE represents ELIXIR’s submission to this Call.

Partners include the following organisations, listed alphabetically by country:


  • Vlaamse Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB)

Czech Republic

  • Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Masaryk University


  • Danish Technical University


  • Tartu University


  • CSC


  • CNRS
  • INRA
  • Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD)


  • Alexander Fleming Institute
  • Athena RIC


  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem (IL)


  • Institute Pasteur (FR); CNR


  • University of Bergen
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • University of Tromso
  • University of Oslo


  • Gulbenkian Foundation
  • INESC ID Lisbon
  • Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica (iBET)
  • Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR)


  • University of Ljubljana
  • National institute of Biology


  • Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)
  • Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
  • Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe
  • Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
  • University of Málaga
  • Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)
  • Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
  • Pompeu Fabra University
  • Parque Científico de Barcelona (PCB)
  • Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM)


  • Linköpings University


  • SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

The Netherlands

  • Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre

United Kingdom

  • University of Oxford
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • University of Manchester
  • The European Molecular Biology Laboratory European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)


ELIXIR, the European life-science infrastructure for biological information, is a unique and unprecedented initiative that consolidates Europe’s national centres, services, and core bioinformatics resources into a single, coordinated infrastructure.

ELIXIR brings together Europe’s major life-science data archives and, for the first time, connects these with national bioinformatics infrastructures throughout ELIXIR’s member states. By coordinating local, national and international resources the ELIXIR infrastructure will meet the data-related needs of Europe’s 500,000 life-scientists. ELIXIR supports users addressing the Grand Challenges in diverse domains ranging from marine research via plants and agriculture to health research and medical sciences.http://www.elixir-europe.org

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