Successful ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forum on food, nutrition, and microbiome

Microbiome, food, and nutrition datasets have rapidly expanded as a result of advances in DNA sequencing and the rise of shotgun metagenomics and metabolomics. To help companies access and take advantage of this wealth of data, ELIXIR organised a two-day ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forum on 9-10 October in Brussels, Belgium.

Hosted by ELIXIR Belgium, the event attracted 90 participants, working in industry and SMEs, academia and NGOs. The programme featured some of the open bioinformatics resources that are particularly useful in microbiome research and related fields (PRIDE, MetaboLights, European Nucleotide Archive), and showcased several SMEs that are already using public data resources in their business, including MyMicroZoo (Netherlands), Ontoforce (Belgium), and MsOmics (Denmark). Silvia Miret Catalan of Unilever presented how Unilever integrates public data in discovery projects. In addition, innovative companies had the chance to present their technologies, services and products in a series of flash talks, prompting collaboration and exchange during the networking dinner.

The programme included keynote talks from Michiel Akeyroid (Senior Scientist, DSM), Wim Haentjens (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation – Agri-food unit), and Peer Bork (Group Leader, European Molecular Biology Laboratory), as well as Training opportunities within ELIXIR.

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About ELIXIR Innovation and SME Programme
ELIXIR’s Innovation and SME programme is a series of specialised events for companies hosted by ELIXIR Nodes. The events provide companies with the opportunity of learning about open bioinformatics resources available through ELIXIR and forge links with the local ELIXIR Nodes representatives running these services. So far, more than 350 representatives from 150 companies have exchanged knowledge with ELIXIR partners across Europe, from small startups to SMEs, to large pharmaceutical companies and IT service providers. In 2017, 4 collaborative projects and proposals involving 8 different companies (all SMEs) and ELIXIR Nodes have started as a result of the Innovation and SME programme, at both national and European levels. The 9-10 October event was organised by ELIXIR Belgium; DTL’s Merlijn van Rijswijk was a member of the organising committee; and DTL’s Celia van Gelder gave a presentation about ELIXIR Training.

Next stop in Paris
The next Innovation and SME Forum will take place in Paris on 14-15 November 2017. Focusing on Rare Diseases and Personalised Medicine, the event will feature presentations of ELIXIR resources such as EGA, Orphanet, and RD Connect, and talks by representatives from large companies, SMEs and EU initiatives. The ‘Meet the expert session will help companies find the right resources for their business or consult their specific needs relating to open bioinformatics data. Register now!

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