ELIXIR CONVERGE WP4: Communications, Industry, International, Impact and Sustainability

The goal of this Work Package is to ensure that the project’s activities and achievements are communicated effectively to all relevant stakeholders. The Work Package will focus on communication to users, industry engagement, membership enlargement, and demonstrating the impact of ELIXIR regarding data management, as part of a broader effort to ensure the long-term sustainability of the research infrastructure.

This Work Package is transversal by nature, relating to, and bringing together, all Work Packages. Activities will primarily be led by the ELIXIR Hub (External Relations team), with key input from ELIXIR Nodes. The activities carried out in WP4 are also complemented by those funded through ELIXIR’s budget from Member countries.


O4.1 Deliver world-class communication and outreach Task 4.1
O4.2 Facilitate industry engagement with a particular focus on SMEs Task 4.2​
O4.3 Expand country membership and enhance international visibility ​Task 4.3
O4.4 Assess and demonstrate impact ​Task 4.4
O4.5 Ensure long-term sustainability ​Task 4.5


Task 4.1 Delivering world-class communications activities

Building on the communications and outreach channels detailed in ELIXIR’s Communication Strategy and Node Communication Toolkit, this task will focus on communicating project activities and achievements. It will showcase how users can benefit in terms of data management.

Tasks will include the development of a project logo, branding guidelines, templates (slide, poster), and online presence (website, social media). Promotional materials will be created, pitched for different audiences, including non-specialist ones (e.g. policy-makers and funders). Internal project communication will be supported by the existing and extensively used ELIXIR ‘intranet’, and by internal email newsletters (e.g. ‘Weekly Brief’, going to 650 ELIXIR partners).

To ensure effective outreach with external users and stakeholders, the project will sponsor, and run booths at key scientific conferences, targeting bioinformaticians and other service users, and policy-makers (e.g. the European Conference on Computational Biology, the International Conference on Research Infrastructures).

Engagement with project activities will be developed, to ensure maximum visibility with important stakeholders, including emerging national patient data coordination centres (e.g. Health Data Research UK), university libraries’ data services (e.g. via the Association of European Research Libraries), and bioinformatics core facilities (e.g. Bioinfo-core).

Leadership: ELIXIR Hub (Andrew Smith)​

Participants: ​All ELIXIR Nodes (via Communications Officers network).

Task 4.2 Operating the ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forum and enhancing national-level industry engagement efforts

A dedicated Industry Officer, part-funded through WP4, will ensure that industry has a point of contact for questions on data management and the support ELIXIR can provide. Further, in ELIXIR-CONVERGE, three Innovation and SME events will take place, hosted by ELIXIR Spain (BSC), ELIXIR Switzerland (SIB) and ELIXIR Netherlands (DTL). All three locations harbour innovation hubs with a high density of SMEs in the life science sector, and already have strong links to the local ELIXIR Node through local industry associations and life science clusters (e.g. BioCat), helping to create a programme that is conducive to the overall life science industry sector.

To help all ELIXIR Nodes develop effective national industry support activities, we will organise a capacity building workshop on strategies for engagement with industry. We will also develop a wiki guide for use by Nodes on how to best engage with industry (Deliverable 4.1). This will equip ELIXIR Nodes with tools to start industry outreach and collaborations in their Node. The workshop will be run in collaboration with external experts and ELIXIR Nodes who already have strong links with industry or run membership programmes.

Support will be given to Nodes to apply their learnings, e.g. by hosting a small scale event or workshop with a focus on industry engagement in the course of this grant, or mapping the industrial ecosystem in their country to help position their national efforts. Outcomes will be reported in the ELIXIR Industry newsletter (reaching 300 industry stakeholders quarterly) and in a summary report showcasing success stories of ELIXIR’s engagement with industry.

Leadership: ELIXIR Hub (Katharina Lauer)​

Participants:EMBL-EBI, BSC (ELIXIR Spain), CNR (ELIXIR Italy), DTL-Projects (ELIXIR Netherlands), IGC (ELIXIR Portugal), UCD (ELIXIR Ireland), Weizmann Institute of Science (ELIXIR Israel) and all ELIXIR Nodes.

Task 4.3 Engaging prospective ELIXIR Member countries and enhancing international visibility

The ELIXIR-EXCELERATE grant has been instrumental in supporting the growth in ELIXIR’s Membership, with Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Hungary and Greece joining during the period 2016-2019, plus Cyprus joining as an ELIXIR Observer (2018). A number of European countries (e.g. Austria, Poland, Slovakia), and also beyond Europe (e.g. Australia, Canada and South Africa), have shown interest in ELIXIR, either in terms of Membership or to enjoy the many mutual benefits of concrete scientific collaborations.

Indeed, ELIXIR’s legal framework does allow for non-European Union countries to become full Members, though in some cases Membership is not necessarily the end target (this depends on national-level preference). Hence, this task will focus on building pathways to Membership where this is relevant, or reinforce existing collaborations in other cases.

This will be achieved by running data management training events in countries which are not ELIXIR Members, in close collaboration with Task 2.4. This will be facilitated by ELIXIR’s strong links with other international initiatives (e.g. the ​Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training [GOBLET], the ​Global Alliance for Genomics and Health [GA4GH], the ​Research Data Alliance [RDA]), as well as intergovernmental bodies (e.g. the G7’s ​Group of Senior Officials for Research Infrastructures, the Global Science Forum on Research Infrastructures of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD]).

The outputs of this Task will be incorporated in ELIXIR’s International Strategy, a living document that describes the current ELIXIR activities of international relevance, and planned implementation actions to reinforce ELIXIR’s global significance and impact.

Leadership: ELIXIR Hub (Corinne Martin)​

Participants:CNR (ELIXIR Italy), University of Ljubljana (ELIXIR Slovenia)

Task 4.4 Implementing an Impact Assessment Toolkit for demonstrating ELIXIR’s impact, nationally and at European level

Demonstrating the scientific and socio-economic impacts of ELIXIR, a pan-European research infrastructure with a global user base, is central to ensuring its long-term sustainability, and hence its capacity to support users of its services in replying to scientific, industrial and societal challenges.

The value and impact of FAIR data (direct link to WP3), human capital (direct link to WP2) and network effects (i.e. European added-value; direct link to WP1) will be evaluated within and across ELIXIR Nodes, and with reference to WP5 demonstrators. Based on the Handbook produced by the RI-PATHS project, the output of this task will be a Node Impact Assessment Toolkit to help Nodes demonstrate to national-level and other funders, the valuable benefits of pan-European coordination in terms of data management.

The toolkit will be actively co-designed with selected Nodes (EMBL-EBI, Czech Republic, Ireland, Israel, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom), notably through a workshop (Month 6) to collate national-level perspectives and needs in terms of demonstrating impact (i.e. what impact? to whom? how?).

Key to the success of this task will be ensuring that the toolkit is embedded in ELIXIR Nodes - a pan-ELIXIR group of focal points (building on ELIXIR’s Node Coordinators, and members of the “Socio-economic Impact” group) will therefore be established and supported by the ELIXIR Hub. The effectiveness of the toolkit’s application at Node-level will be reviewed (Deliverable 4.3).

Leadership: ELIXIR Hub (Corinne Martin)​

Participants: ​CNR (ELIXIR Italy), EMBL-EBI, IGC (ELIXIR Portugal), UCD (ELIXIR Ireland), University of Cambridge (ELIXIR UK), University of Ljubljana (ELIXIR Slovenia), ÚOCHB (ELIXIR Czech Republic), Weizmann Institute of Science (ELIXIR Israel) and all ELIXIR Nodes (via WP1 network).

Task 4.5 Supporting the long-term sustainability of ELIXIR

ELIXIR has developed and implemented a Long-term Sustainability Plan (first produced as part of the ELIXIR-EXCELERATE grant), which provides an overview of previous, current and future actions that aim to support the sustainability of bioinformatics resources across ELIXIR’s Nodes. This Plan builds on a number of recommendations from the European Commission Staff Working Document on the long-term sustainability of research infrastructures, as well as those of the Long-Term Sustainability Working Group of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures(ESFRI).

Under this task in ELIXIR-CONVERGE, the Plan will be updated (Deliverable D4.2) and completed to account for outputs and outcomes of this project, against each of the Plan’s objectives (see Table in ​section 1.3.7​). In particular, we will take into consideration the work being carried out in WP1, Task 3, on providing data management consultancy services as a potential business model and the outcomes of Task 4.4 (Impact assessment). Due to the critical importance of the topic to ELIXIR, input on this task will be sought from funding agencies, including representatives of the ELIXIR Board and ELIXIR partners.

Leadership: ELIXIR Hub (Corinne Martin)​

Participants: ​All ELIXIR Nodes (via WP1 network).


D4.1 Wiki guide for ELIXIR Nodes on industry engagement
A continuously updated and community-built guide for Nodes on ‘how to engage with industry.​
January 2022
D4.2 Updated ELIXIR Long-term Sustainability Plan
An overview of actions that aim to support the sustainability of bioinformatics resources across ELIXIR’s Nodes.
July 2022
D4.3 Review of effectiveness of the Impact Assessment Toolkit
An analysis of the effectiveness of the Impact Assessment Toolkit, including outcomes of its application at Node-level.
January 2023

WP leaders

Corinne Martin
Corinne Martin
Andy Smith
Andrew Smith