ELIXIR has published its Annual Report for 2018, presenting the major achievements in the last year and highlighting the effort of over 700 experts from 22 ELIXIR Nodes. The report also introduces the objectives of the new ELIXIR Scientific Programme (2019-2023) and reports on the expansion of ELIXIR’s international collaborations.
Completing the first ELIXIR Scientific Programme
The year 2018 was the final year of the first Scientific Programme (2014-2018). Comparing the number of activities and members in the first and the last year of the cycle, illustrates the rapid growth of ELIXIR in the past years:
- In December 2014, ELIXIR had six members. By the end of 2018, ELIXIR’s membership had expanded to 22 members.
- ELIXIR initially started with four ELIXIR Communities (then called Use Cases). In 2018, ELIXIR operated eight Communities, with a further three Communities in the process of being established.
- ELIXIR’s portfolio of Implementation studies is now a mature technical programme, with over 30 individual Implementation studies. By contrast, in 2014 ELIXIR ran four Implementation studies (then called Pilot actions).
Second Scientific Programme 2019-23
2018 saw the publication of the ELIXIR Scientific Programme for the next five years - 2019-2023. The goals for the next five years are to extend the ELIXIR portfolio of databases, data services, tools, workflows and clouds, into an integrated infrastructure for accessing, analysing and reusing life science data. By the end of 2023, ELIXIR will meet the demand for services in data-driven biology in all domains of life sciences.
The new Scientific Programme was launched at the ELIXIR Fifth Anniversary Conference in Brussels, in December 2018. Besides presenting ELIXIR’s priorities for the next five years, the event also highlighted the key results of ELIXIR since establishment in 2014.
Recommended Interoperability Resources
A key goal of the first Scientific Programme was to develop a new model to identify and select bioinformatics resources critical for the long-term sustainability of life science data. Following the establishment of ELIXIR Core Data Resources in 2017, ELIXIR published a key service collection for interoperability and standards: ELIXIR Recommended Interoperability Resources (RIRs).
The RIRs have been selected by external reviewers, based on how they facilitate scientific research and improve FAIRness of life science data. The initial portfolio was presented in December 2018 and comprises of ten tools and registries from ELIXIR Nodes.
The ELIXIR International Strategy, which outlines ELIXIR’s collaboration with partners beyond Europe underwent a major revision in 2018. For the first time, ELIXIR’s activities were articulated around UN Sustainable Development Goals. The International Strategy identifies five goals in particular where bioinformatics research infrastructures play a critical role: Zero hunger; Good health and wellbeing; Industry, innovation and infrastructure; Life below water; and Life on land.
ELIXIR also strengthened its status of Global Research Infrastructure within the G7’s Group of Senior Officials (GSO). At the 12th GSO meeting in November 2018, ELIXIR presented how its activities align with the Framework for Global Research Infrastructures, with a particular focus on measuring its socio-economic impact.
In 2019, ELIXIR has also started a number of important new projects. The FAIRplus project, which started in January 2019, is an industry-academia collaboration supported by the Innovative Medicine Initiative to develop tools and guidelines for making life science data FAIR.
In March 2019, ELIXIR and twelve other ESFRI biomedical research infrastructures started the EOSC-Life project, which aims to create a collaborative digital space for life science in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).
The goals of ELIXIR are defined in the Scientific Programme, which also contains detailed plans for ELIXIR’s technical Platforms and Communities. ELIXIR will continue to implement its Scientific Programme in 2019 and the following years to ensure its services address the needs of life science research community and drive the exploitation of public bioinformatics data.