On 30 October, the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain took a formal decision to join ELIXIR as a full member. Prof. Carmen Vela, Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, confirmed that the inter-departmental process for approving the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement (ECA) had been put in place. Spain is now expected to formally sign the ECA before the next ELIXIR Board meeting in April 2015, following the completion of the internal approval process.
The ELIXIR Board was informed of Spain’s decision during its meeting of 3-4 November 2015 and welcomed the news. Spanish participation in ELIXIR is structured by an agreement between the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the ISCIII, and six of the INB partner institutions (CNIO, CRG, CNAG-PCB, IRB, BSC and UPF). The ISCIII is mandated to represent the Spain on the ELIXIR Board.
The ELIXIR Node is led by the Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB), which is a platform funded by ISCIII. The overarching mission of INB is to disseminate and provide bioinformatics support to laboratories, research institutions and companies throughout Spain. The INB serves in the coordination, integration and development of Spanish bioinformatics resources in projects in the areas of genomics, proteomics and translational medicine. It has contributed to the creation of a consistent computational infrastructure in the area of bioinformatics, participated in national and international genome projects, and trained bioinformatics users and developers.
Spain will now participate in the scientific and operational delivery of ELIXIR as a member. Spain has a long tradition of bioinformatics provision and a well co-ordinated national infrastructure and looks forward to integrating these services with the rest of Europe through ELIXIR. ELIXIR Spain has already worked on an early ELIXIR Pilot action with EMBL-EBI to develop the European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) as a joint venture.
The ECA has been ratified by the following: European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Spain had previously signed the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to participate in 2011.
An ELIXIR Spain poster is available here.