Spring Statement: Cambridge data team gets £45m boost

EMBI-EBIImage copyright EMBI-EBI
Image caption The institute specialises in storing data used in the front line of scientific research

New jobs will be created at a Cambridge data processing firm given £45m by the government to expand its operations.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the investment for the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in the latest Spring Statement.

The institute collects and translates complex data for scientists at the front line of research into disease.

An EMBL-EBI spokeswoman said the money would lead to 150 new jobs.

The organisation employs more than 600 people and has been based at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridge, for 25 years.

Image copyright EMBI-EBI
Image caption EMBI-EBI has a storage capacity of 155 petabytes. One petabyte is one million gigabytes

Bioinformatics is the science of analysing, storing and sharing large biological datasets – essential to discovering how genes affect the health of humans, plants and animals.

The institute says its three UK data centres get 64 million requests for data or analysis every day from around the world.

Director Ewan Birney said the funding had come “at an exciting time in biology” and would enhance the physical computer storage capabilities on the site.

The £45m investment – delivered through UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Priorities Fund – will be spent on improving infrastructure and increasing the centre’s data storage capacity.

Image copyright EMBI-EBI
Image caption The EMBI-EBI data centre in Hinxton near Cambridge

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “People around the world are affected by food security, diseases that could be prevented and access to effective medication.

“Boosting the UK’s genomics sector is a key commitment in our Life Sciences Sector Deal, to avoid premature deaths and to ensure food security for years to come.”

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