Elixir is a proposal for a Portuguese distributed infrastructure for biological data, to be included in FCT’s Infrastructure Road Map of 2013. This infrastructure aims to become a national bioinformatics network, and to manage the portuguese node of the ESFRI ELIXIR (European Life Sciences Infrastructure for Biological Information).

ELIXIR’s vision for the future is to provide researchers in academia and industry with seamless access to biological information that will revolutionise discovery in the life sciences, by integrating data at different levels of analysis, for example from molecular biology to industrial solutions. shares these goals and aims to catalyse this access and translation at the regional and national level, as well as contributing to ELIXIR efforts at the European level

In its nature is transversal to all of the life sciences, and will likely be relevant for other proposals for inclusion in this infrastructures roadmap. It is organised around a general scientific, technical and educational platform, an industry and entrepreneurship program and a focus on specialised areas of knowledge and application, described below. The choice of these specialised areas aims to start building this infrastructure capitalising on existing excellence in research and institutions, bridging to international projects (e.g. EMBRC) and a potential for application and translation to the economy. Future upgrades of the network are expected to encompass more biological domains, research centres and geographical locations

In Portugal, Bioinformatics is still a young discipline with small numbers of active research groups and companies. A Bioinformatics training program, capitalising on existing experience and the best training practices in ELIXIR will contribute to produce trained professionals in this field

A Bioinformatics Industry and Entrepreneurship program, with the involvement of experienced entrepreneurs, incubators, SME associations and ELIXIR will maximise the economic translation potential of this infrastructure

A common (European) computational infrastructure in and in ELIXIR, including the physical, software and information systems infrastructure maximises economy of scale, and the interoperability of data and services across Europe

A distributed Bioinformatics service facility will provide consultancy and expertise that will be an added value to researchers in academy and SMEs

Smart-specialization insures maximal impact of and potential for international funding. Extensive data curation, integration and availability, together with tool deployment will produce tailored interfaces for the following domains:

  • Woody plants, the main focus of Portugal’s contribution to ELIXIR, representing 10% of Portuguese exports
  • Marine resources, in collaboration with the EMBRC.PT team, to explore the major untapped natural resource in Portugal
  • Systems Biology of microbial metabolism, to explore the growing trends of bioprocess adoption in industry
  • Neurosciences/Behaviour, a frontier area in biological research
  • Gene expression of yeasts with biotechnological and clinical relevance