ReNaBi-IFB: The French Bioinformatics Infrastructure
In France, the Group of Scientific Interest (GIS), Infrastructures in Biology, Health and Agronomy (IBiSA) (http://www.ibisa.net/) is in charge of implementing a concerted policy in terms of infrastructure for life sciences. In the field of bioinformatics, this strategy has resulted in a network of regional platforms (PFs) aimed at fostering the coordination of their activities. At the moment, 13 PFs clustered into six regional centres belong to this network, the ReNaBi (http://www.renabi.fr/) (French Bioinformatics Platforms Network), which is also the French national node for EMBnet. Those six regional centres span the French territory (ReNaBi-NE, North-East; PRABI, Rhône-Alpes region; ReNaBi-GS, Great South; ReNaBi-SO, South-West; ReNaBi-GO, Great West; APLIBIO, Paris area), and they are all embedded in bioinformatics research laboratories. Their corresponding manpower is about 100 Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) in terms of permanent staff, and 57 FTEs for people hired on fixed-term contracts; this represents about 30% of the whole French bioinformatics community.The main limitation of this network is that the resources and know-how are geographically distributed and somehow redundant. This makes the pooling of resources and expertise more difficult to harness. In addition, this ‘scattered’ structure is not intelligible from outside the French bioinformatics community, particularly for international partners. Therefore, the ReNaBi is moving toward a more centralised structure, the French Bioinformatics Infrastructure (IFB).
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