As part of our research and planning for the Map of Alliances project we came across ELIXIR and realised that they were doing much the same thing. ELIXIR is building a sustainable European infrastructure for biological information, supporting life science research and its translation to medicine, agriculture, bioindustries and society. They expressed a desire to understand the network of collaborations across Europe, but the infrastructure they proposed to build would be generic enough to support the needs of the Pistoia Alliance as well.
At a very productive meeting last week at the ELIXIR Hub in Hinxton, near Cambridge, John Wise and Richard Holland of the Pistoia Alliance worked with Andrew Smith, Premysl Velek and Rafael Jimenez of ELIXIR to understand the intentions and requirements of both parties, and established that much of what we were doing was very similar, if not identical. The Pistoia Alliance had already developed an outline data model, while ELIXIR had developed a methodology for automatically gathering and updating some of the relevant data and an outline design for an infrastructure to store and query that data. It seemed to make sense to combine our efforts.
The intention is that the Pistoia Alliance will continue to gather relevant data, provide an industry viewpoint, assist in the refinement of the data model, and offer input into the development of the storage and query infrastructure that ELIXIR are building. The Pistoia Alliance will also work with ELIXIR to reach out to other organisations planning similar mapping projects, such as the PRISME Forum, in order to ensure that efforts are not duplicated.
While this is not yet a formal partnership, the Pistoia Alliance and ELIXIR plan to work closely together over the coming weeks to work out the detail of the collaboration and inform the decision to proceed. The Pistoia Alliance will discuss the technical specifications for project, such as the minimum information required, throughout October, and if all goes well we will aim to run a joint workshop with ELIXIR to formally launch the collaboration after the Open Symposium event in November.