France latest country to join ELIXIR

ELIXIR MoU now has signature of 16 countries and EMBL

Hinxton, 12 November 2013 –  France has become the 16th country to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to participate in ELIXIR, the pan-European undertaking to safeguard the results of life science research. The ELIXIR MoU was signed by CNRS on behalf of France, representing themselves and CEA, INRA, INRIA and Inserm.

The purpose of ELIXIR is to construct and operate a sustainable infrastructure for biological information in Europe to support life science research and its translation to medicine and the environment, the bio-industries and society. ELIXIR harnesses the strength of Europe’s current bioinformatics providers, ensuring that biological data and services being run by participating organisations are integrated in a way of most value to life science researchers.

Since 2012, the French bioinformatics community has been establishing a national infrastructure in bioinformatics (Institut Français de Bioinformatique, IFB), which will serve as the French ELIXIR Node. IFB constitutes a national formation of leading funders and institutes across the country. The French Node application will be reviewed by the ELIXIR Scientific Advisory Board in December 2013 and put to the ELIXIR Board for final approval in April 2014.

Professor Søren Brunak, Chair of the ELIXIR Interim Board: “France joins at an exciting time as ELIXIR will shortly move into the permanent construction and operation phase. I am delighted that a nation with such a strong science base and track record of bioinformatics service provision joins ELIXIR at this time.”

Dr Jean-François Gibrat, Head of IFB: “The French ELIXIR Node brings together considerable expertise and valuable resources in R&D fields such as metagenomics, health and rare diseases and the plant sciences. We look forward to participating in the construction of this vital infrastructure.”

Dr Niklas Blomberg, ELIXIR Director: “I am delighted that France has joined at this stage. The proposed services of the ELIXIR France Node will add considerable value to the infrastructure as a whole and bring real benefit to ELIXIR’s users.”

The ELIXIR MoU is a first formal but non-binding step towards the implementation of ELIXIR. France joins the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and 15 other signatory nations: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

ELIXIR member states are all working towards ratifying the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement (ECA), which is the permanent legal basis for ELIXIR. The ECA has already been ratified by the UK, Sweden, Switzerland and EMBL. ELIXIR will exist as a separate legal entity in its own right once a further two nations ratify the ECA. This is expected to take place in the coming months.

Tue 12 November 2013