On 18 and 19 March, Wageningen UR, The Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL) and ELIXIR Europe co-hosted a forum for small and medium-sized agri-food companies. The goal of the forum was to investigate how to develop innovations based on already available research data.
Over years of scientific inquiry, a vast amount of databases with biological data has evolved. However, these databases do not always ‘communicate’. This lack of interoperability hinders data discovery and data analysis In the two day forum on data-driven innovations, scientists and agri-food companies exchanged views on how to streamline the use of public bioinformatics resources.
“The connections between databases would improve if we were to standardise the collated information. This is something we are working on in national and international networks such as DTL and ELIXIR”, says Richard Finkers, bio-informatics scientist at Wageningen UR. ELIXIR is a Special Project of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. It aims to create an infrastructure that integrates biological research data from all corners of Europe. The Dutch Node of Elixer is coordinated by the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL), a public private partnership.
Finkers underlines the importance of making research data as FAIR as possible; it must be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. “It is essential that scientists from various countries are willing and able to share their information. The ability to link all existing collections may show that new research is not always necessary for further innovations,” Finkers says.
The forum on data-driven innovations in the agri-food industries stimulated the contacts between scientists and businesses. The slides of the presentations are available on Elixer’s website.