A distributed infrastructure for life-science data
General Info


South Building, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, United Kingdom

legal status




ELIXIR unites Europe’s foremost life science organisations in managing and safeguarding the increasing volume of data being generated by publicly funded research. Its primary objective is to coordinate, integrate and sustain bioinformatics resources across its Member States, facilitating seamless access to essential services for researchers in academia and industry in Europe and beyond. ELIXIR is an intergovernmental organisation comprising 21 Member countries, one intergovernmental organisation (the European Molecular Biology Laboratory) and three Observer countries (Cyprus, Austria and Romania). It brings together over 240 research organisations and 800 experts, including bioinformaticians, computer scientists and professional support staff in Nodes. The UK is the host country of ELIXIR, which operates on a 'Hub and Nodes' model. ELIXIR's coordination function is carried out by the ELIXIR Hub, situated at the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge, UK. As each ELIXIR Member country establishes a Node, these together form a distributed infrastructure within that country and coordinate activities with other Nodes across Europe. ELIXIR Nodes facilitate the delivery of ELIXIR's services to end-users. Collectively, ELIXIR Nodes provide over 500 bioinformatics resources, which include databases, software tools and workflows, registries, training resources, interoperability resources, standards, compute resources, guidelines and best practices and data management support. By facilitating access to these resources for hundreds of thousands of scientists globally, ELIXIR contributes to managing the overwhelming volume of data in life sciences, enabling more efficient data storage, transfer, and analysis. ELIXIR operates on the basis of a five-year Scientific Programme, which describes the scientific and technical activities that will be implemented in that period. ELIXIR connects, coordinates and integrates the bioinformatics services run by ELIXIR Nodes across Europe, by implementing projects that connect ELIXIR experts and resources and which are funded through the budget provided by Member States. Some of the outcomes derived from these coordination activities at ELIXIR include: the creation of a coordinated network of supercomputer services that makes it easier for scientists to manage the ‘data deluge’ currently experienced in the life sciences, thereby enabling scientists across Europe to more easily and efficiently use existing facilities to store, transfer and analyse huge datasets. Additionally, ELIXIR partners are active partners in a significant number of EU-funded projects, typically providing data management and infrastructure expertise. ELIXIR is active in a number of scientific domains across the life sciences, including: rare diseases, human genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, biodiversity, food and nutrition, plant sciences, microbiome, toxicology and single-cell omics.
Total Investment 47,6 M€ Design Preparation 10 M€ Implementation Operation 5,4 M€/year Project Landmark 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 2032 2034 2036 2038 RM06 RM08 RM10 RM16 RM18 RM21 LA24
Roadmap Entry
as project: 2006
as landmark: 2016
Total investment
47,6 M€
Design Phase
Preparation Phase
10 M€
Implementation Phase
Operation start
5,4 M€/year
Due to its distributed nature, ELIXIR has adopted a two-fold approach to assess its performance and impact, and ultimately its public value: (a) undertake high-level performance and impact assessment at the scale of the whole infrastructure via indicators of varying nature, some of which are showcased on the ELIXIR public facing impact dashboard, and (b) build the capacity of Nodes to carry out performance and impact assessment related to their own national circumstances and particular set of stakeholders. This activity, resulting in a vibrant community of practice, also led to the identification of impact areas (e.g. policy influence, research efficiency, skills development), and the publication of ELIXIR’s Impact Toolkit, bringing together training materials, factsheets, lists of indicators, key publications, case studies among others. ELIXIR also maintains an annotated bibliography on impact related publications (published version in 2023). The socio-economic impact of ELIXIR extends to industry, with evidence of the usefulness and contribution of its resources to scientific discoveries and applications, entrepreneurial ventures, as well as tax revenues and job creation. For example, in a survey of around 50 European SMEs carried out by ELIXIR in 2021, 76% said they would not be able to provide their product or service if it were not for publically available data. Mentions of ELIXIR resources names in patent applications further underscore their role in supporting innovation. As a result, ELIXIR’s work and its resources are relevant to a number of grand challenges and other high-level policy ambitions, such as the European Union’s Green Deal and Strategy for Data, UNESCO’s Recommendations on Open Science, and several of the UN SDGs (e.g. SDG 2 and 3).
ELIXIR operates as a virtual, distributed infrastructure, where ELIXIR Nodes collectively provide over 500 bioinformatics services including databases, tools, compute resources, interoperability resources and training, registries, and data management support. The majority of these services are provided free of charge to users in academia and industry anywhere across the globe. A small number of ELIXIR resources do charge users for access - these are typically national supercomputing facilities. To support scientists in navigating these 500+ resources, some services in ELIXIR are specifically recommended for use: ELIXIR Core Data Resources are databases of fundamental importance to the life-science community and long-term preservation of biological data; ELIXIR Deposition Databases are recommended for the deposition of experimental data; and ELIXIR Recommended Interoperability Resources are recommended for use to follow the FAIR principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability). ELIXIR also provides many registries of services, such as, which provides scientific and technical descriptions of over 30,000 software and tools, and TeSS, providing an entry point for thousands of training events and materials. All of ELIXIR’s services are accessed directly online by users, and are listed on the ELIXIR service page categorised by scientific domain (e.g. chemical biology, genes and genomes, literature, etc) or type of service (e.g. databases, software, etc).
ELIXIR provides support and services to other research infrastructures that generate data across a range of high-throughput technologies (e.g. genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and image data). It helps support the data-related needs of other RIs, such as through providing data management support, training in bioinformatics and assistance in making data ‘FAIR’. The domains in which ELIXIR provides services range from human data to biodiversity, again bringing ELIXIR into close contact with many other medical, biological and environmental RIs that are members of ESFRI. ELIXIR collaborates with research infrastructures in different ways. This takes place through EU-funded projects such as EOSC-life, EOSC4Cancer, BY-COVID, EOSC-ENTRUST, where ELIXIR works with other RIs on the ESFRI roadmap to address data and open science topics. ELIXIR also concludes formal collaboration strategies with other ESFRI RIs, including with Euro-BioImaging via an Image Data Strategy, developed in 2014, and with BBMRI-ERIC, through the Statement on Strategic Collaboration established in 2023. Additionally, many ELIXIR Nodes collaborate closely with the national Nodes of other ESFRI RIs - for example, Health RI in the Netherlands hosts the Dutch Nodes of ELIXIR, BBMRI and EATRIS.