European Bioinformatics Institute - Press release

cameron at embl-heidelberg.de cameron at embl-heidelberg.de
Tue Mar 9 11:29:54 EST 1993

              The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)
                         A New EMBL Outstation
                           EMBL Press Release
                        Heidelberg, 9 March 1993

The EMBL Council decided today that its recently  announced  Outstation,
the  European  Bioinformatics  Institute  (EBI)  will  be  located  near
Cambridge in the UK.  Its goal will be to ensure that the  growing  body
of   information   from   molecular   biology  and  genome  research  is
conveniently accessible to all facets of  the  European  scientific  and
biotechnology  community  in  ways which promote scientific progress and
global competitiveness.  The EBI will expand on the  work  of  the  EMBL
Data  Library,  which  was established more than a decade ago to build a
database of nucleotide sequences, and today supplies this and many other
kinds of biological information to scientists throughout the world.

Today's competitive biological research and biotechnology industries are
crucially   dependent   on   up-to-date  information.   Modern  research
scientists  and  biotechnologists  are  becoming  intensive   users   of
electronic  information  resources  -  computers, software, networks and
databases, and the EBI will be a European focus for the  development  of
and access to products and services based on these technologies.

The  EBI  will  continue  the  Data  Library's  work  in  preparing  and
distributing  databases  of biological interest in collaboration with an
extensive network of other independent European centres.  It will expand
in  areas  crucial  to  the  long-term achievement of this service goal,
which include:  technology tracking in biology and informatics, research
and development, training and user support.  Specific areas for research
will include comparison algorithms, networked information resources, and
new database design.

Within two years the EBI will employ almost 70 scientific and  technical
staff  in  a  custom-designed  building  on the Genome Campus at Hinxton
Park, south of Cambridge.  The site already houses  the  Sanger  Centre,
directed  by  Dr.   John  Sulston,  which  specialises  in  genome-scale

After evaluation of very credible offers from Germany,  Sweden  and  the
United  Kingdom, the decision on the UK location was reached at the EMBL
Council meeting of March 9.  Strong commitment from  the  UK  Government
and  scientific  community  resulted  in  a  proposal  from  the Medical
Research Council in partnership  with  the  Wellcome  Trust  to  provide
excellent   facilities   for  the  new  EMBL  Outstation.   The  British
Government has furthermore committed itself  to  conclude  an  agreement
with  EMBL  such that the EBI will enjoy the same privileges as EMBL has
in Germany and France.

The major part of the EBI operating budget is expected to come from EMBL
and  the  Commission  of  the  European  Communities  (EC) both of which
finance the present Data Library.  DG XII of the EC has  been  a  strong
supporter of bioinformatics throughout Europe and especially the work at

EMBL is an international, intergovernmental  organisation  dedicated  to
basic  research,  advanced  training  and  the  provision of services in
molecular biology.  It was founded in 1973 and has  become  one  of  the
premier  biological research centres in the world.  The EBI is the third
Outstation of  EMBL;  the  other  two,  located  in  Hamburg,  FRG,  and
Grenoble,  France,  provide  facilities  for  the analysis of biological
structures at the atomic level.  The EBI like the other two  Outstations
will be administered by EMBL.

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