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Advancing bioinformatics to meet biomedical and clinical needs


Specific challenge:Recent technological advances in molecular biology, biomedical sciences and systems biology have enabled a greatly increased rate of data generation and the production of many different types of data. Furthermore, these new technologies are gradually becoming much less expensive and more accessible to individual laboratories and clinics. The rate of data generation at a local level is therefore set to increase dramatically.

Currently available bioinformatics tools are however insufficient to maximise the use of these new, diverse and complex data. Deficiencies exist in data collection, storage, organisation, integration, analysis and exploitation is therefore not optimal. Network bioinformatics requires support in Europe in order to maintain scientific competitiveness.

Scope: Proposals should ensure that bioinformatics capabilities are not only made adequate for the current data challenge but are also able to meet future biomedical and clinical needs. Proposals should focus on the development of new mathematical, statistical and computational methods, to address specific bottlenecks in bioinformatics that hold back better understanding, integration and use of biomedical and clinical research data. The needs include, but are not limited to: better data capture, organisation and storage; improved data analysis and processing methodologies, and interoperability; new approaches for data integration (e.g. different types and sources, integration of the time component); new approaches to data standardisation, including development of both preclinical and clinical standard operating procedures, ensuring data consistency and sharing while also complying with data protection requirements; improving accessibility and user-friendliness of biomedical and clinical research data. Close links between developers and envisaged end- users of the new methods must be ensured from the start of all successful proposals, as must widespread dissemination of the new methods. Commercial development should be a goal where appropriate.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

  • Accelerate the translation of the results into clinical research
  • Widespread dissemination of the new bioinformatics methods to maximise the accessibility and utility of biomedical data in research and medicine
  • Increased commercial products in bioinformatics (e.g. data services).
  • Increased research & innovation opportunities in this SME-intensive field
  • Building on European excellence to make the EU a location of choice for advanced bioinformatics research

Type of action:Research and innovation actions