ELIXIR is the European bioinformatics research infrastructure, and part of the ESFRI roadmap. ELIXIR unites Europe’s leading life science organisations in managing and safeguarding the massive amounts of data being generated every day by publicly funded research. It is the pan-European research infrastructure for biological information. ELIXIR is based upon an agreement among European countries, that have together established an international consortium to jointly run the ELIXIR life science data infrastructure and services.

ELIXIR follows a hub-and-nodes model, with ELIXIR-NL as the Dutch ‘node’ of expert centres dealing with the grand challenge of big science data for the life sciences. ELIXIR-NL is hosted and coordinated by DTL.

Many European countries join forces in ELIXIR, each developing a single national ‘node’. Countries that have ratified the international ELIXIR Consortium agreement are represented in the ELIXIR Board. Also EMBL is part of ELIXIR, participating through the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), and acting as host to the coordinating ELIXIR ‘hub’. ELIXIR director dr Niklas Blomberg runs the ELIXIR hub.

The goal of this distributed node-hub structure is to ensure that data are kept safe and made easily accessible, and that expertise, methods and standards for data analysis and data stewardship are shared and made available to international scientists in a coordinated manner. Each country is represented in the ELIXIR Heads of Nodes Committee. For the Netherlands, Barend Mons  of Leiden University Medical Centre is head of node, and Jaap Heringa of the VU University Amsterdam is deputy head of node and board member.

ELIXIR also drives technical collaboration among the involved nodes, which is guided by the ELIXIR Technical Coordinators, and collaboration in Training, which is guided by the group of ELIXIR Training Coordinators. From ELIXIR-NL, dr Rob Hooft  is involved as Technical Coordinator, and dr Celia van Gelder as Training Coordinator.

ELIXIR is not a funding organization, but an infrastructure and services framework that promotes collective acquisition of resources, both in terms of ‘international-grade’ life science datasets, e-infrastructures, tools, services and training, as well as in financial sources to establish a sustainable environment for professional data stewardship in the life science R&D fields.

ELIXIR’s scientific and technical programme for 2014-2018 has now been published. The programme sets out the focus of activities that ELIXIR partners will carry out over the current five-year period.

The programme can be downloaded here.