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The aim of this document is to define a research and policy agenda to promote the field of computational systems biology (CSB) in Europe, which would involve better structuring of European research and infrastructure support, and defining research areas. It is primarily aimed at European Commission research policy for building a European Research Area, and also can provide insights to organisations in Member states and researchers in the public and private sectors.
A group of European experts in computational systems biology attended a workshop organised by the services of the European Commission, entitled "Computational Systems Biology (CSB) - Its future in Europe." This document is its outcome.
CSB involves developing understanding of the interaction of components of biological systems, and the expression of this understanding in qualitative and quantitative terms - in particular, in terms amenable to electronic storage and communication. The most successful current implementations of CSB rely on iterative cycles of data analysis and computerised (in silico) model construction/refinement and predictions, linked to wet-lab (in vitro) and living specimen (in vivo) experimental design, experimentation, and data capture and storage in forms that can be represented and manipulated by computer software.
Eight areas for action are considered, short- and long-term, which can be implemented in the EU framework programme for research, by national funding organisations and by the researchers themselves: Fragmented research in Europe, General Modelling requirements, Model organisms as data sources, Standardisation of in vitro/ in vivo experiments and their data, Standardisation of databases, software and modeling, Data required beyond present 'omics (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.), Training, Increasing excellence in experimental research projects via bioinformatics and CSB.

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