SESL at Bio-ITWorld Europe: What’s the future of knowledge brokering?

I was able to take SESL on a public spin at the Bio-ITWorld meeting last week in Hannover, and it was very well received. As we at the Pistoia Alliance bring this project to a close, it’s clear that we’re in a SESL-is-dead, long-live-SESL situation as we determine the best way to leverage the lessons from this project in other initiatives—very likely the Open PHACTS project sponsored by the IMI.

In my presentation (below) on the SESL pilot on Wednesday, I not only gave an overview of the project, but also exploited the wifi connection to show off the public demonstrator. The demonstrator provides a single point of query for gene or disease information from four publishers and three bioinformatics databases. The simple GUI offers summary results for the queries with links to full text details from the publishers and links to the bioinformatics databases. In other words, it demonstrates that knowledge brokering of primary data sources can be achieved.

I got some extremely positive feedback during my presentation from a number of people, including

  • Prof. Carole Goble (University of Manchester and Open PHACTS academic leader)
  • Dr. Etzard Stolte (ex-Roche, now CTO HP Life Sciences)
  • Dr. Scott Marshall (co-chair WC3 Health and Care Life Sciences interest group)
  • Dr. Barry Hardy (Open Collaboration pioneer; OpenTox; SAM; Synergy etc.).

And the very next day, Prof. Goble presented on Open PHACTs and recognized publicly how successful the SESL pilot has been and how the thinking and learning from it is helping to shape the Open PHACTS project (22 partners), which has got off to a promising start, now six months into the three-year grant. In fact, throughout the conference, I heard lots of positive feedback about the Pistoia Alliance. Clearly, the community is behind what we’re trying to do, and our ability to deliver lessons and actual proofs of concept, like the SESL public demonstrator and the proofs of concept in sequence services, will only raise our profile and credibility.

In my conversations with people attending Bio-ITWorld and those I spoke to on Monday, after the Pistoia Alliance Information Ecosystem workshop, I noticed that there is a strong community need for better signposting. During my talk, I pointed out the need for the Pistoia Alliance to select judiciously existing initiatives, consortia, and standards to support and endorse in order to help everyone navigate the complex jungle (i.e. ecosystem) in life science R&D. The synergy between SESL and OpenPHACTS illustrates the power of signposting and collaboration.

Are we missing opportunities to work with others to resolve common hurdles to innovation? Let us know where you think “signage” could help you better tackle challenges in your R&D operations.

Posted in Pistoia Alliance Blog.

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