The goal of ELIXIR, the European Life-Science Infrastructure for Biological Information, is to operate and manage collections of large amounts of biological data produced in the life sciences. ELIXIR integrates research data from around Europe and makes it available to all scientists, in all research fields, thus facilitating new discoveries and advances in key areas such as medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and the environment.
Portugal has just become the tenth country to ratify the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement, joining the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and EMBL as a full participating member. ELIXIR was recently selected as one of the prioritised research infrastructures by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), thus establishing it as pushing the boundaries of scientific excellence, being strategically relevant for Europe, and ready for immediate action.
Being a member of ELIXIR places the Portuguese Node, and the research community as a whole, in a privileged position to benefit from the ELIXIR network, namely in the fields of health, natural resources and marine biology - areas where Portugal has particular interests.
Miguel Seabra, Head of FCT, explains, "We have just completed the selection of the research infrastructures to be included in the first ever National Roadmap of Research Infrastructures. Becoming a member of ELIXIR is very much in line with our goal to ensure strong coherence and efficiency between Portuguese research infrastructures and their European counterparts, in particular those that are aligned with the ESFRI roadmap."
ELIXIR Director Niklas Blomberg, adds, "I am delighted that Portugal has taken this important step of becoming a full member of ELIXIR. The expertise of Portugal in plant science bioinformatics will be of undoubted benefit to the rest of ELIXIR and European research in general and we look forward to working closely with the community over the coming years."