The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), has set up a programme of "Bioinformatics support for industry". The first project under this programme, "Biostandards", is being supported by DG III (Industry) of the European Commission. EBI is a research and service organization which creates databases of information relevant to biological research and carries out research in computational molecular biology. It serves not only the academic community, but also the biotechnological, chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries. Bioinformatics and IT in general are of increasing importance to industry, especially in the pharmaceutical field. To help industry adapt to the new technologies and identify the potential benefits these developments can bring, the EBI launched the "Bioinformatics support for industry" programme. The "Biostandards" project, begun on 1 March 1996, provides education and training for industry's researchers, particularly in the use of newly developed software and the joint development of tools for database searching and analysis, network navigation and data mining, etc. Emphasis is placed on the software and information structures which are of particular importance to the industry, and to the establishment and promotion of standards. The project is being implemented in partnership with the following pharmaceutical companies: British Biotech Pharmaceutical Ltd, Cib-Geigy, Glaxo R&D Ltd, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Merck KGaA, Pfizer Ltd, Rhone-Poulenc SA, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, and Zeneca.