Estonia joined ELIXIR Consortium
On 18 December 2013, ELIXIR enters its permanent phase as Estonia becomes the fifth country to ratify the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement. This marks the formal launch of the infrastructure for biological data in Europe, supporting life science research and its translation to medicine, the bioindustries and society.
ELIXIR today becomes an independent legal entity as Estonia joins the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in ratifying the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement. ELIXIR aims to maximize the impact of big data in medicine, agriculture and the environment through the creation of a sustainable data infrastructure.
"For a small country, it is important to participate in the international division of labour as an equal partner. On one hand, it enables us to increase own role in the development of essential components, and, on the other hand, it helps us to approach the solutions created by other countries. That way, we are able to bring the necessary training courses to Estonia more easily and mediate the competences, which are not yet dealt with in Estonia. The greatest benefit of joining ELIXIR will come to the researchers using the services of ELIXIR," said Jaak Vilo, who is a member of the ELIXIR steering committee in Estonia, an academic, a professor of bio-informatics at the University of Tartu.
“Estonia ratifying the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement provides scientists from the University of Tartu the best opportunities to participate in international cooperation, to get input from international colleagues and access to research partners knowledge,” says Marco Kirm, the Vice Rector for Research of the University of Tartu. “The Agreement also ables to apply our researchers unique knowledge, skills and technologies for the international science work and practical life.”
The ELIXIR Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by EMBL and 17 countries, including Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
At the launch of ELIXIR, prominent policy makers and scientists from ELIXIR member states and the European Commission underscore the importance of this research infrastructure to the future of Europe’s life science sector.
"Establishing ELIXIR, the truly distributed bioinformatics research infrastructure, is an important milestone for all involved,” says Professor Jaak Aaviksoo, Minister of Education and Research, Estonia. "New technologies have led to an explosion in the global production of biological data. This new level of international collaboration to establish the technologies and systems to cope with the quantity and heterogeneity of data is most timely. I am happy to see that Estonian expertise in biological data management and analysis will contribute fully to a wider European infrastructure and, in turn, look forward to seeing the benefit this brings to Estonian life sciences."
"The mission Estonian has in the ELIXIR network is to participate in its international division of labour and, above all, to make sure that the solutions, data and databases created in Estonia are available to international researchers. It also provides a chance to collaborate with other ELIXIR partners in solving major challenges," said Vilo when discussing the role Estonia has in ELIXIR.
ELIXIR is a pan-European network of bioinformatics infrastructure, which must ensure sustainable management of bioinformatics solutions, so that the final consumer of the infrastructure – researchers of life sciences – could benefit from it to the fullest.
Additional information: Jaak Vilo, member of the ELIXIR steering committee in Estonia, Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Tartu, phone: +372 50 49365, e-mail: jaak.vilo [ät] ut.ee.