Glossary, abbreviations and acronyms

This is a growing list of terms, acronymns and abbreviations. If you are aware of a term that should be added to this page please click here.   (Also for any grammatical idiosyncrasies.) 

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Name Details
3DBioInfo One of the largest ELIXIR Communities providing methods and tools to analyse, predict, archive and validate the three-dimensional (3D) structure data of biomacromolecules such as proteins, RNA or DNA.


Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure. Centrally controlled access to online resources, see ELIXIR AAI.


Authentication and Authorisation for Research and Collaboration: a project led by GÉANT the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks. 


Artificial Intelliegence. 
“The science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” (John McCarthy).
Often involving Machine Learning but the two are not synonymous. 

B1MG Beyond 1 Million Genomes, coordinating and supporting the 1+ Million Genomes Initiative (1+MG) involving 23 countries across Europe


Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure: an ESFRI BMS Research Infrastructure which aims to increase efficacy and excellence of European biomedical research by facilitating access to quality-defined human health and disease-relevant biological resources.

BBMRI-ERIC: BBMRI European Research Infrastructure Consortium: bring together all the main players from the biobank field.


Big Data to Knowledge: National Institute of Health (NIH) initiative established to enable biomedical research as a digital research enterprise, to facilitate discovery and support new knowledge, and to maximize community engagement.


Dept of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (UK Gov.)

BiCIKL Biodoversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library; an E.C. funded project that will launch a new European starting community of key research infrastructures, researchers, citizen scientists and other stakeholders in the biodiversity and life sciences based on open science practices through access to data, tools and services.
Bio.Tools A comprehensive registry of software and databases


Centre of Excellence for provision of support to academic and industrial researchers in the use of high -performance computing (HPC) and high-throughput computing (HTC) in biomolecular research.


The collection, storage, and analysis of biological data using computers. It is an interdisciplinary subject and involves knowledge of programming, database design and statistics as well as biology. Bioinformatics techniques are often used to analyse genomes and proteomes, and to create three-dimensional models of biomolecules.

Biohackathon  Annual week-long event bringing together 2-300 bioinformaticians with a range of skills and knowledge to to focus on a number of projects. 


A joint project of twelve biomedical sciences research infrastructures on the ESFRI roadmap, completed in February 2016.

BIOSCAN Europe  An initiative that brings together existing European national networks, scientists and projects that work on the monitoring of biodiversity using DNA to build an efficient European system of interconnected facilities for rapid identification and monitoring of species.


Bring Your Own Data: A workshop that brings together data owners, domain experts (most often biologists and chemists) and FAIR data experts (and their trainees) working on selected data set(s). biologists and chemists) and FAIR data experts (and their trainees) working on selected data set(s).


Collaboration Agreement: A legal document that established the ELIXIR Node and outlines the relationship with the ELIXIR Hub.

CaaS Containers as a Service. A cloud service that helps manage and deploy apps using container-based abstraction.


Core Data Resources European data resources that are of fundamental importance to research in the life sciences and are committed to the long term preservation of data. Coordinated by the Data Platform

CINECA Common Infrastructure for National Cohorts in Europe, Canada, and Africa. Accelerating disease research and improving health by facilitating transcontinental human data exchange

Cloud computing

An online pool of shared computing resources where you can access and store data and use programs (Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365 are examples of cloud services). Unlike owning your own hardware, you can quickly adjust cloud services to your needs and only pay for what you use.


Capability Maturity Model (Interrogation)

CNV Copy Number Variation, a major cause of structural variation in the genome


Collaboration agreement Oversight Group. A group established to oversee the relationship between the ELIXIR Hub and each Node.

COS or CoS 

Commissioned Service (Also known as Implementation Study) 
This is a funding mechanism whereby ELIXIR arranges a contract to complete work setout in the Programme 

Communities  Bringing together experts across Europe to develop standards, services and training within specific life science domains.
CONVERGE  A project to help standardise life science data management across Europe, funded by European Commission. 


Coordinated Research Infrastructures Building Enduring Life-science Services'. It is a project that aims to align and coordinate the work of the European biomedical research infrastructures. See that aims to align and coordinate the work of the European biomedical research infrastructures. See and sustained framework of shared services between the ESFRI BMS RIs.


The Center for Translational Molecular Medicine. A Dutch-based public-private partnership dedicated to the development of technologies in molecular medicine. (See TraIT below)


Common Workflow Language (see GitHub)

D Deliverable (context specific) Output associated with a project, whether tangible or intangible. (See also Milestone
Data Visiting 

An approach for making multiple, related data sources available. The analysis tool 'visits' each data set and returns only the output. Raw data does not move (national borders), access is controlled (AAI), avoids Federated databases (YAD; Yet Another Database) 


Database for Annotation, Visualisation and Integrated Discovery. A comprehensive set of functional annotation tools for investigators to understand biological meaning behind large list of gene.


Distributed System of Scientific Collections - the RI that joins natural history museums together

DMP Data Management Plan (see also SMP and RDM toolkit


Digital Object Identifier, is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location. (eg. A publisher assigns a DOI when an article is published and made available electronically)

DPTY Deputy. Usually "Dpty TrC" or "Dpty TeC". See related terms "TrC" and "TeC"
DS-Wizard Data Stewardship Wizard; a tool to help data stewards and researchers to efficiently compose data management plans (DMPs) for their research projects.

The Darwin Tree of Life project aims to sequence the genomes of all 70,000 species of eukaryotic organisms in Britain and Ireland.


The Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL) is a public-private partnership of more than 50 life science organisations in the Netherlands. The majority of Dutch universities and university medical centres are DTL partners and a growing number of companies are joining the organisation.

Earth Biogenone Project

The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), a moonshot for biology, aims to sequence, catalog and characterize the genomes of all of Earth’s eukaryotic biodiversity over a period of ten years.


European infrastructure for translational medicine: an ESFRI Research Infrastructure that brings together resources and services for research communities to translate scientific discoveries into benefits for patients.


EATRIS European Research Infrastructure Consortium: accelerate the translation of biomedical discoveries into patient benefit.

EBIF ELIXIR Bioinformatics & Industry Forum; bringing together large multinational companies to micro-SMEs, covering fields such as pharma, biotech, food, agriculture and aquaculture.


ELIXIR Consortium Agreement; an agreement between ELIXIR Hub and each Node to establish the legal basis for ELIXIR


European Conference on Computational Biology. The main computational biology and bioinformatics conference in Europe


ELIXIR Compute Platform


Embrace Data And Methods ontology: A simple ontology of well established, familiar concepts that are prevalent within bioinformatics, including types of data and data identifiers, data formats, operations and topics. EDAM provides a set of terms with synonyms and definitions, organised into an intuitive hierarchy for convenient use.


ELIXIR Deposition Database


ELIXIR Data Platform


European Genome-phenome Archive Link


European Grid Infrastructure: A federation of 19 cloud providers aiming to create and deliver open solutions for science and research infrastructures EGI-ENGAGE: to accelerate the implementation of the Open Science Commons by expanding the capabilities, complementing community-specific capabilities.


ELIXIR Interoperability Platform link


European Joint Programme for Rare Diseases


European Life-Science Infrastructure


ELIXIR Industry Advisory Committee, a body appointed by the ELIXIR Board to provide high-level, strategic advice and input to ELIXIR from industry.

ELIXIR Innovation & SME Programme

A series of specialised events hosted by ELIXIR Nodes for companies, in order to support Europe's industry and in particular its Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).


ELIXIR Scientific Advisory Board, the body composed of independent scientists that oversee the


Ethical Legal and Social Issues; guided in ELIXIR by a policy


The European Marine Biological Research Infrastructure Cluster is designed to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and innovation from marine Bio-Resources.


ENVRIplus is a Horizon 2020 project bringing together Environmental and Earth System Research Infrastructures, projects and networks together with technical specialist partners to create a more coherent, interdisciplinary and interoperable cluster of Environmental Research Infrastructures across Europe.


European Open Science Cloud: a virtual environment with open and seamless services for storage, management, analysis and re-use of research data, across borders and scientific disciplines. EOSC Portal: access to the various EOSC components


European Research Council

ERGA European Reference Genome Atlas; a comprehensive description of genomes of all European species. 


European Research Infrastructure on Highly pathogenic Agents. The ERINHA2 project aims at building a pan-European research infrastructure to reinforce the European coordination and capacities for the study and the surveillance of highly pathogenic micro-organisms.


European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures: A strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach.


Biological and Medical Sciences: A group of experts appointed by ESFRI to monitor the scientific requirements and needs for Research Infrastructures in their respective scientific areas


ELIXIR Tools Platform


eTRANSAFE will develop infrastructure and policies to share toxicology data (including ‘omics) for investigational drugs in public-private partnerships.


European Collective Data Infrastructure


Europe PubMed Central. A repository, providing access to worldwide life sciences articles, books,


Executive Committee of a Platform, supported by a Platform Coordinator, generally 2-3 people


An international drive to ensure data is:

  • Findable (Registries, Discovery tools) 
  • Accessible (Open access, API) 
  • Interoperable (Standard format, ontoligical terms) 
  • Re-useable (Additional data be equally available) 


Federated Human Data

Focus Groups Agile structures that bring interested parties together around a particular topic.  Typically they are used to address emerging areas of interest and seek to identify a strategy that ELIXIR can follow.


The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health; international standards organisation formed to meet the current challenges and opportunities in genomic research and medicine.


Global Biodiversity Information Facility: An international organisation that focuses on providing free and open access to biodiversity data. 

GDI  Genomic Data Infrastructure


General Data Protection Regulation


A locus (or region) of DNA that is responsible for creating a particular protein or a particular function. Genes carry the information that determines traits like eye colour, and are the basic units of hereditary. Humans have around 25,000 genes.


The genetic material of an organism, which consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). It contains all of an organism’s genes, and is present in every cell that has a nucleus. Each genome contains the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.  


Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training


In computing, a grid is a collection of computers that is owned by multiple organisations in different locations and connected together so that users can share the combined power of the resources. It differs from cloud because cloud resources are usually run by one organisation


An open source programming framework that helps you process and store huge data sets in a distributed computing environment (like a grid). Hadoop services let you access, store and process data, and help you manage data governance and security.


Horizon 2020. A European Framework Programme for Research, part of the European Investment Fund. 

H2020 IMI

Innovative Medicines Initiative, Europe's largest public-private initiative aiming to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients. IMI is a joint undertaking between the European Union and the pharmaceutical industry association EFPIA.


Human Data Communities (link


Human Genomics and Translational Data (link


ELIXIR Head of Nodes Committee, committee composed of representatives of ELIXIR Nodes and EMBL-EBI, that gives advice to the ELIXIR Board and Director in relation to ELIXIR activities and has a major role in developing and agreeing the ELIXIR scientific and technical strategy.


High Performance Computing using multiple computers to perform a task. HPC clusters divide up tasks into smaller, more manageable ones and run these concurrently across multiple computers. This allows researchers to run large, complex analyses of data that are too big for a single machine to cope with.


High Throughput Computing


The ELIXIR Hub coordinates and supports the services run by the ELIXIR Nodes and has overall responsibility for developing and delivering the ELIXIR Scientific Programme. It is based at the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge, UK. See Who we are.

Hybrid Cloud

A cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. By allowing workloads to move between private and public clouds as computing needs and costs change, hybrid cloud gives businesses greater flexibility and more data deployment options


International Conference for Research Infrastructures, a biennial event that brings together stakeholders in the field of research infrastructures to discuss international cooperation.

IDP Intrinsically Disordordered Protein lacks a fixed or ordered three-dimensional structure, typically in the absence of its macromolecular interaction partners, such as other proteins or RNA. (See ELIXIR IPD Community, also YouTube)
IHI  Innovative Health Initiative (formerly IMI, below), building on the successes of and lessons learnt in that project
IMI Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private partnership aiming to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients.

Implementation study (aka CoS

ELIXIR projects intended to implement the Scientific Plan through a relatively narrow focus and short term duration (two years), funded through the budget of the ELIXIR Hub and are used to connect ELIXIR Nodes. 

INDIGO DataCloud

An H202 project, an open source data and computing platform targeted at scientific communities, deployable on multiple hardware and provisioned over hybrid, private or public, e-infrastructures.


International Rare Diseases Research Consortium


The ESFRI BMS research infrastructure on systems biology, which aims to facilitate the use of model-driven approaches to understand complex biological systems, enabling their function to be altered in a rational and predictive way.


International Society for Computational Biology: a scholarly society for advancing understanding of living systems through computation and for communicating scientific advances worldwide.

ISMB Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology; annual event bringing experts in areas such as computer science, molecular biology and medicine, mathematics and statistics, organised by ISCB, often in conjunction with ECCB. 


A comprehensive collection of eukaryotic ribosomal RNA Internal Transcribed Spacer 1 (ITS1) sequences


Just Another Bogus Bioinformatics Algorithm


Key Contributor's Update - an update on relevant actions and ELIXIR activities circulated every Friday afternoon to key members in ELIXIR.


Laboratory Information Management System is software that allows you to effectively manage


Board to consider long-term options for maintaining Core Data Resources consisting of

Machine Learning "A field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” (Arthur Samuel) An element of, but not synonymous  with Artificial Intelligence. 
maDMP or maSMP

Machine Actionable Data Management Plan
Machine Actionable Software Management Plan


patents and clinical guidelines

Member/Member State

A country in ELIXIR that has signed the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement (see How countries join). It can also mean an institution that is part of ELIXIR e.g. the University of Manchester is part of ELIXIR UK, and so is a ‘member’ of ELIXIR


The study of genetic material sampled directly from the environment (rather than cultured in a laboratory). In marine metagenomics, for example, the genetic material studied is taken from samples of seawater taken directly from the sea.


Minimum Information About a Plant Phenotyping Experiment; an open, community driven project to harmonize data from plant phenotyping experiments.

MS Milestone (context specific) a project planning tool used to mark a point in a project schedule. (See also Deliverable


Marie Skodowska-Curie Actions. A grant making body associated with H2020


This is NeLS portal for the administration of Norwegian e-Infrastructure for Life Sciences. NeLS is one of the packages of the ELIXIR.NO project.


National Institute for Science and Technology. Both is a physical sciences laboratory, and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce, to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness


An institution within a country that runs that country’s ELIXIR services e.g. the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL) oversees the work of ELIXIR Netherlands. It is the Dutch Node. See How countries join.

Node Services  Resources included in a Node Service Delivery Plan (SDP) and listed on the ELIXIR website  


Ocean Biogeographic Information System

OCRE Open Clouds for Research Environment framework, an EU project to accelerate cloud adoption in the European research community


In ELIXIR, an Observer is a country that has not yet signed the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement (ECA), which all members have signed. It may be that the country is still working towards signing it. See How countries join.


Platform as a Service, is a cloud computing model in which a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools

Phenopackets An open standard for sharing disease and phenotype information


Principal Investigator

Pistoia Alliance

A not-for-profit alliance of life science companies, vendors, publishers, and academics that work together to lower barriers to innovation in R&D.


A group of scientists who coordinate ELIXIR’s activities in a particular area. There are five Platforms or areas of work within ELIXIR (Data, Tools, Interoperability, Compute and Training).


Proof of Concept


The proteins found in an organism over its entire life cycle, or in a particular cell type at a particular time under defined environmental conditions.


The study of the proteins of a particular cell, tissue or organism, often produce inventories of the protein structures produced by the same tissue under different conditions.

RD Rare Disease, one that effects fewer than 1 in 2,000 people, currently 6,000+ are known, marked each year at the end of Feburary link 


An integrated platform connecting databases, registries, biobanks and clinical bioinformaticians for rare disease research


The Research Data Alliance, a global initiative which aims to accelerate and facilitate research data sharing and exchange.

RDM Toolkit

Research Data Management toolkit; an online guide for good data management practices. 


Reference Data Distribution Service


Resource Description Framework

ReSA Research Software Alliance, bringing research software communities together to collaborate on the advancement of the research software ecosystem


Request For Proposal; a document that solicits a proposal (eg Implementation Study) as part of a competitive bidding process


Research Infrastructure; A network of facilities, databases and services used by the science community to conduct research. By combining these resources then the research becomes more effective because data and expertise can be pooled.


Research and Innovation Actions – most H2020 we take part in will be RIAs or CSAs


Recommended Interoperability Resources. Services that supports description, reporting, annotation, sustainability and provision of biological data, coordinated by the Interoperability Platform


Research Infrastructures Training Programme, funded by BBMIR to develop a competency profile and curriculum for distributed RI operators and managers. (nb. Pronounced "Rye Train" rather than "Retrain") 


Software as a service is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet.


Scientific Advisory Board, an independent body, made up of leading experts from around the world, provinding scientific advice. (eg ELIXIR SAB


A database schema represents the logical configuration of all or part of a relational database. It can exist both as a visual representation and as a set of formulas known as integrity constraints that govern a database, expressed in a data definition language, such as SQL. a community activity to create, maintain, and promote schemas


Service Delivery Plan. A contractual agreement between ELIXIR and each Node setting the roles and responsibilities of the Node.


The process of discovering the order of nucelotides in DNA or RNA, or the order of amino acids in a protein. There are four types of nucleotides in DNA. Each gene is made up of a sequence of nucleotides.


Different meanings in different contexts, it is both used as a synonym of "infrastructure" as well as a "process" or established way of doing things


Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

SIG Special Interest Group (examples include?
SMP Software Management Plan (see also DMP and RDM toolkit


Project to deliver diagnostic tests for most rare diseases by 2020, funded by Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme


Standard Operating Procedure. A set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out complex routine operations.

SPLASH Skills, Professional development, Learning Assessment, Support and Help along the training life cycle.   (Training Platform 2024-26, WP2) 
Statistics A really useful glossary here (Things to avoid


Science and Technology Facilities Council


Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability, an initiative to provide biomedical researchers access to advanced, cost-effective computational infrastructure, tools and services.


A computer that has more computational capacity than a general-purpose computer. Supercomputers split large tasks into smaller tasks and work on all the sub-tasks at once (parallel processing). Grids and HPC clusters are examples of supercomputers.


Software and Data Carpentry

TC TeleConference. Legacy term for online or hybrid meeting, Zoom call etc. 

TeCG (TeC) 

ELIXIR Technical Coordinators Group, the body composed of technical representatives of each of the ELIXIR Nodes who will ensure ELIXIR-wide knowledge exchange on the ELIXIR technical strategy. 


Task Execution Service. Executing the tasks within a CWL workflow (see also WES)


Training e-Support System A portal to collect, disseminate and organise information about bioinformatics training from ELIXIR Nodes and various third-party providers


Training Infrastructure as a Service (eg. Galaxy TIaaS


The CTMM Translational Research IT (TraIT) project is developing and implementing a long-lasting IT infrastructure for translational research projects in the Netherlands

TrCG (TrC)

ELIXIR Training Coordinators Group, the body composed of training representatives of each of ELIXIR Node. 


Tool Registry Service; An API enabling an interoperable library of genomic analysis tools, under GA4GH. 


A Nordic project established by NeIC and ELIXIR Nodes of DK, FI, NO and SE to provide infrastructure for cross-border collaboration on sensitive biomedical data. The project develops and connects secure platforms at the participating nodes. link

TtT Train-the-Trainer - Event or community that works on establishing best practices or how to deliver training. TtT events are isolated offers where these practices are taught to anyone wishing to improve their teaching practice and/or become an ELIXIR trainer.

Use Case

Within ELIXIR, these are collaborations between ELIXIR and life scientists in a particular domain (e.g. rare disease). They give feedback on the services developed by ELIXIR Platforms and ensure that the services match the scientists’ needs. These are now refered to as Communities 


Workflow Execution Service. Coordinating specified workflows using CWL. (See also TES)


Wellcome Genome Campus (formerly Wellcome Trust Genome Campus WTGC) including the EBI, Sanger Institute, Conference Centre, Hinxton Hall etc


Work Package; A group of related tasks within a project.


Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (part of the Wellcome Genome Campus with around 800 of nearly 3,000 people working here.) 

How Abbreviations Hamper Scientific Communiction link