A backbone organisation delivering collective impact for the biosciences in Australia*.


EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR) is a distributed national research infrastructure providing bioinformatics support to life science researchers in Australia. It was set up as a collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) to maximise Australia’s bioinformatics capability. This close partnership is made possible in the context of Australia’s associate membership of EMBL.

EMBL-ABR aims to:

1. increase Australia’s capacity to collect, integrate, analyse, exploit, share and archive the large heterogeneous data sets now part of modern life sciences research
2. contribute to the development of and provide training in data, tools and platforms to enable Australia’s life science researchers to undertake research in the age of big data
3. showcase Australian research and datasets at an international level
4. enable engagement in international programs that create, deploy and develop best practice approaches to data management, software tools and methods, computational platforms and bioinformatics services.

EMBL-ABR is structured as a hub/nodes model, with the Hub located at Melbourne Bioinformatics (formerly VLSCI), University of Melbourne. Guidance is provided by a high-calibre International Science Advisory Group with members assisting with efforts to further engage with the European infrastructure for biological information, ELIXIR, and other relevant international efforts such as the NIH Data Commons and Big Data to Knowledge efforts in the US.

EMBL-ABR is a truly national resource. It consists of a Hub and twelve nodes which are organised around six Key Areas: Data, Tools, Compute, Standards, Training and Platforms, mapped to their respective expertise in terms of biosciences domains. The nodes are hosted at institutions located across Australia as listed in Table 1. EMBL-ABR Hub is hosted by EMBL-ABR: Melbourne Bioinformatics node in Melbourne, Victoria. Organisations interested in joining the EMBL-ABR network as a Node are welcome to contact us.

 EMBL-ABR Nodes and their geographical spread in Australia
EMBL-ABR NODE Institution State
Melbourne Bioinformatics Node University of Melbourne Victoria
Monash Node Monash University Victoria
MA Node Metabolomics Australia Victoria
AGRF Node Australian Genome Research Facility Victoria
SBI Node Systems Biology Initiative New South Wales
SIH Node Sydney Informatics Hub New South Wales
SCU Node Southern Cross University New South Wales
UA Node University of Adelaide South Australia
UWA Node University of Western Australia Western Australia
UTas Node University of Tasmania Tasmania
JCU Node James Cook University Queensland
QCIF Node Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation Queensland
ANU Node  Australian National University Australian Capital Territory

EMBL-ABR structure is currently composed of an EMBL-ABR Hub Director Andrew Lonie, the EMBL-ABR International Science Advisory Group (ISAG), and the EMBL-ABR Head of Nodes and Community Leads Group (HNCL).

Key documents explaining various aspects about EMBL-ABR can be found here.



* This reference is taken from Turner et al, Understanding the Value of Backbone Organisations in Collective Impact, Stanford Social Innovation Review, July 2012.