The relatively new government body, UK Research and Innovation, made public its substantial commitment to supporting big data bioinformatics research with a £45 (€53) million investment in the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). The EBI, part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), oversees many key data-intensive initiatives in areas like genomics and molecular biology. As quoted in the article, British MP and Science Minister Chris Skidmore stated:
“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....The new funding, delivered through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund, working closely with the Wellcome Trust, will support for the growing need for data resources and associated building infrastructure to underpin the biological data management and analysis, provided by EMBL-EBI."
Similarly, EMBL-EBI director Dr. Ewan Birney stated this investment will optimally position EMBL-EBI to better handle the already substantially growing life science research data infrastructure in the coming years.
In light of the many uncertainties around a finalized Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU, this very prominent support for pan-European research initiatives may give some comfort to researchers across the UK and EU who fear the political situation may very negatively affect research in both the UK and the remaining EU nations.