Tackling life threatening diseases: The European Bioinformatics Institute

An abstract image of cells to illustrate the work of the European Bioinformatics Institute
© iStock/Pobytov

The UK Government has invested £45 million to extend the European Bioinformatics Institute, with aim of tackling life threatening diseases.

The European Bioinformatics Institute is the largest biological open data facility hosted in the UK.

Which research areas will be strengthened?

The UK Government has reported that the investment into the European Bioinformatics Institute will extend it and strengthen drug discovery, research into cancer genetics, regenerative medicine and crop disease prevention.

According to Gov UK:

•Life scientists around the world will be able to access more genomics and molecular biology data that will improve diagnosis of disease and inform new life-saving treatments;
•New funding to EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge will analyse large and complex data sets and turn into digestible knowledge for scientists; and
•The investment illustrates the government’s Industrial Strategy in action to ensure the UK remains globally competitive in the life sciences, with UK science and innovation supported by the largest increase in public research and development investment on record.

How is the data from the European Bioinformatics Institute used?

Science Minister Chris Skidmore commented: “People around the world are affected by food security, diseases that could be prevented and access to effective medication. Through the vital datasets made available by EMBL-EBI many of these issues can – and are – being prevented.”

He added: “That is why the government has invested £45 million to boost the work being undertaken at the Institute, and why boosting the UK’s genomics sector is a key commitment in our Life Sciences Sector Deal, to avoid premature deaths and to ensure food security for years to come.”

Additionally, UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Our ability to process, access and interrogate large volumes of data is absolutely crucial to scientific discovery in the 21st Century, none more so than in health and life sciences where the fields of genomics and molecular biology are fuelling major advances.”

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