Genome Canada is aiming to retool the country's genomics infrastructure by plowing $12.2 million in federal funding and a similar amount from other sources into 10 research centers. The expanded network includes specialists in bioinformatics, a field in which Genome Canada is keen to strengthen as the challenge shifts from generating data to making sense of the results.
The new approach is the latest in a series of evolutions for Genome Canada, a nonprofit which has seen the field it covers change significantly since it was founded to dole out federal dollars in 2000. Prior to the latest shift, Genome Canada was funneling money into 5 Science and Technology Innovation Centres, but concerns about creating silos and the need to add new capabilities to the network prompted a rethink.
Bioinformatics is at the forefront of the new approach, with Genome Canada's leaders planning to make substantial investments in the field in response to shifting priorities. "Data generation is getting easier, but in the end you have to interpret and analyze all of that data," Guillaume Borque, co-director of the Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics (C3G), told The Globe and Mail. C3G is one of the 10 research centers and will provide access to computing and bioinformatics resources.
The sharing of assets is part of Genome Canada's push for greater collaboration between the centers. Each of the 10 sites--which Genome Canada refers to as "nodes"--brings something different to the table. Notable centers from an IT perspective include the McGill University and Génome Quebéc Innovation Centre and the Canadian Data Integration Centre, which will provide DNA analysis services and data management services, respectively.