ELIXIR is committed to enabling its Member States to integrate life sciences data and services and to maximise the expertise of each in bioinformatics. To this end, Europe's national centres, services and core bioinformatics resources are being brought together into a single coordinated infrastructure and creating a community of computer scientists across Europe.
So far, this has resulted in a powerful environment supporting the European contribution to the development of generic standards and tools for the life sciences community: Bioschema, EDMA, FAIR (a set of standards and tools for the standardisation of plant phenotyping data, workflows and containers, etc). It provides an organised European voice in international consortia (e.g. Breeding API, MIAPPE and GA4GH, in which ELIXIR-EN has been very active) and a strong contribution to the development of sustainable data analysis environments (BioTools, Galaxy.eu, etc.) and provides capacity building and training throughout Europe.
ELIXIR supports co-development activities through internal projects between its nodes. In the period 2015-2018, ELIXIR-FR participated in 19 Implementation Studies (IS), staff exchanges and hackathons. The last one was organized in France (Paris, November 2018) and 150 experts and computer scientists/engineers from ELIXIR nodes but also, and this was unprecedented, from the private sector, were hosted for a week to develop codes together or "FAIR" their resources. The infrastructure also allows its members to participate in structuring European projects, such as the H2020 (2019-2023) EUCANcan project, which aims to align and interconnect existing European and Canadian infrastructures for the analysis and management of genomic data in oncology. The H2020 GenRes Coordination and Support Action is an opportunity to position the role of ELIXIR in the field of biodiversity. ELIXIR is a real opportunity for the IFB to align itself with the objectives of the European Open Scientific Cloud (EOSC).
Over the last five years, ELIXIR has supported coordination with other ESFRIs, in particular through its communities (e.g. EMPHASIS and ELIXIR, where the French node has been at the initiative), which has also been useful internally to better define the aspects of e-infrastructure to be shared and the specific aspects. It was also useful to ensure that the key objects allow interoperability between the phenotyping data produced by EMPHASIS and the polymorphism data (stored in the ELIXIR archives at EMBL-EBI). Another example is the ELIXIR marine metagenomics community, which works closely with the EMBRC Eric in several areas: promotion of the best strategy in terms of e-infrastructure, data management and NATO plans and analysis flows in relation to genomics observatory projects. In the coming period, collaborations with other ESFRIs in the field of life sciences will be supported by the H2020 EOSC-Life project, coordinated by ELIXIR Hub. The French node is involved in activities such as ECRAN, MIRRI, EMBRC and EMPHASIS.
ELIXIR-CONVERGE is a project funded by the European Commission to help standardize life sciences data management across Europe. To achieve this standardisation, the project will develop a data management toolkit for life scientists. The toolkit will help to ensure more research data is placed in the public domain, allowing scientists to access more data. This will enable them to gain new insights into societal challenges, such as food safety and health in the elderly, and will help stimulate innovation in biomedicine and biotechnology.
The initial operational phase of ELIXIR, supported by the H2020 ELIXIR-EXCELERATE project (2015-19), focused on the coordination and delivery of bioinformatics services from national nodes. This laid the foundation for a coordinated European infrastructure for life sciences. ELIXIR-CONVERGE will build on these achievements to provide another essential component: the provision of distributed local support for data management across Europe. This will be based on a toolkit for researchers that enables the life cycle management of their research data in accordance with international standards.
ELIXIR-CONVERGE will develop the national operations of the research infrastructure to lead to good management, replicability and reuse of data. During 36 months and with partners from our 23 nodes, ELIXIR-CONVERGE takes the next step to create a European data federation where interconnected national operations allow users to extract knowledge from large, diverse and distributed life science datasets. By connecting ELIXIR nodes to provide FAIR data management as a service, ELIXIR-CONVERGE will strengthen national capacity and create a model for the operation of sustainable nodes in distributed research infrastructures.
The Beyond 1 Million Genomes (B1MG) project aims to facilitate the sharing of human health data across Europe. It will support the European Union's 1+Million Genomes (1+MG) initiative, which aims to provide access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the EU by 2022. Since its launch on Digital Day 2018, the initiative has become a true cooperation mechanism involving the 21 signatory Member States and Norway. These countries meet regularly to ensure that the declaration's goal of having at least 1 million sequenced genomes available in the EU by 2022 can be achieved.
The B1MG project will support this initiative by creating the infrastructure, legal advice and best practices to enable this access. It will enable scientists and clinicians to study the genotypic and phenotypic data of more than one million people. This data will be linked so that an individual's genetic data can be matched with their phenotypic data (such as weight, blood type and medical history). But the project will look "beyond" the 1 + MG Initiative and stimulate the development of a data-sharing infrastructure that goes beyond the lifespan of 1 + MG and beyond one million genomes.
The overall objective is to help develop national data-sharing networks and to connect them to an international network, where data remains stored locally but is accessible throughout Europe. Scientists and clinicians can then access the huge amounts of genotypic and phenotypic data from the European partner countries of the project: