VLSCI 2015 Annual Report

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It is my pleasure to present here the VLSCI’s 2015 Annual Report.

The Report demonstrates how our bioinformatics expertise and resources are delivering innovative products and services to the Australian research community and its industry collaborators and partners.

Since 2010 the collaborative research between VLSCI’s computational specialists and Victorian researchers has built an exceptionally skilled staff that have the capacity to transform life science research projects. Access to sophisticated computational infrastructure and expertise has resulted in the rapid increase in demand for the services of our experts.

We are fortunate to have added several significant players to that pool of talent in 2015, who have pivotal roles in major projects such as the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, as detailed in this Report. The new Lenovo system “Snowy”, replaced aging x86 hardware and was enthusiastically welcomed by users.The GVL continues to be the best exemplar of this kind of platform in the world and it places Australia, and the participating Australian institutions, in an enviable leadership position on the world stage in life sciences and bioinformatics.

In addition to successfully signing on RMIT, La Trobe and Deakin Universities as financial members, in 2015 VLSCI transitioned to a simpler governance structure that supports exploration of enhanced and new collaborations at a national and international level, and ongoing commitment to deliver valuable expertise, services and infrastructure.

A major development for 2015 was the awarding of Australian Government research infrastructure funding, through Bioplatforms Australia (BPA), to host the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR). The Resource is a distributed national research infrastructure providing bioinformatics support to life science researchers in Australia, set up in collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) to maximise Australia’s bioinformatics capability. It was with great pleasure that at the end of the year we announced the appointment of high-profile bioinformatician Assoc Prof Vicky Schneider to the newly created role as Deputy Director, EMBL-ABR.

As a further strategy to position Australia to benefit and contribute to international data conventions and initiatives, in late November/early December we were delighted to host Dr Niklas Blomberg, Director, ELIXIR, to discuss Australia’s participation in this important European data sharing initiative.

The team at VLSCI is a professional, committed, dedicated and resourceful one and I am pleased to be able to continue to work with them to build the necessary tools, platforms, infrastructure, collaborations and training resources which are contributing to Australian research excellence.

On behalf of all concerned with the governance, sustainability and the ongoing success of the VLSCI throughout 2015, I commend the 2015 VLSCI Annual Report to all.

Assoc Prof Andrew Lonie
Director, VLSCI and EMBL Australian Bioinformatics Resource