ELIXIR Belgium Launch event

9 February 2017
VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Technologiepark 71, Zwijnaarde

The morning session of the event covered a data management workshop specifically for researchers. Experts in data handling introduced the concept of FAIR data, illustrated data management on the basis of use cases and held a vibrant debate on data sharing.

After lunch, the director of ELIXIR (Niklas Blomberg) provided a broad overview of ELIXIR’s activities and the deputy Head of Node of ELIXIR Belgium (Frederik Coppens) demonstrated the role of the Belgian ELIXIR node. We also linked to the emerging European Open Science Cloud, a European initiative on data across all scientific disciplines. To further exemplify the potential of the ELIXIR infrastructure, an ELIXIR case study in translational biomedical research was presented. An industry perspective on big data was provided and, last but not least, two of the node services offered by ELIXIR Belgium, PLAZA and NGS Logistics, were presented.


The event attracted 129 participants from all over the country. All Belgian universities (KU Leuven, UAntwerpen, UCL, UGent, UHasselt, ULB, ULiége, UNamur, VUB) and a number of university hospitals (UZ Brussels, UZ Leuven) were represented. Many members of research centres (de Duve Institute, Ilvo, ITM, VIB, VLIZ, VSC, WIV), governments (Belspo, EWI, FWO, SPW) and innovation platforms (FlandersFood) attended the event. There was also a good representation from industry (Academiclabs, Atos, Bayer, Bluebee, Diagenode, DSM, Janssen, Multiplicom, Ontoforce, UCB Pharma). All pictures

The following are just a few of the reactions we received on the event, the speakers and ELIXIR:

  • “Congratulations with the ELIXIR Belgium launch event! It was very instructive to get to know the ELIXIR infrastructure.” (Nele Pauwels, UGent)
  • “Congratulations with the big success of the ELIXIR Belgium launch meeting!” (Laurent Dollé, ULB)
  • “It would be my pleasure to support the ELIXIR industry event later this year in Belgium.” (Stefan Weckx, VUB)
  • “We are keen on initiating discussions with the Belgian ELIXIR node, in order to explore partnership possibilities.” (Pierre Bourbon, Bluebee)
  • “Many thanks for the organisation of the ELIXIR Belgium launch event, it really was an exciting day!” (Annelies Haegeman, Ilvo)
  • “The introduction on FAIR data was so good and clarifying. By the way, where did you find that speaker?” (Vanessa Vermeirssen, VIB)
  • “The debate was of the most vivid and interactive debates I attended lately!” (Jaap Heringa, ELIXIR-NL)



08:30     Registration

09:30     Welcome and Introduction, Yves Van de Peer (Head of Node ELIXIR-BE, VIB, UGent, BE)

09:45     Data Management Workshop, Chair Lennart Martens (VIB, UGent, BE)

  • Introduction to (FAIR) Data Stewardship, Erik Schultes (Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences, NL) - Slides
  • How FAIR data could empower Plant Breeders to develop new cultivars more effectively, Richard Finkers (Wageningen Plant Research, Plant Breeding, NL) - Slides
  • Break
  • From local management to global dissemination: unlocking the potential of cell migration data, Paola Masuzzo (VIB, UGent, BE) - Slides
  • Debate: Integrating other people’s data

12.30     Lunch

13.30     Building ELIXIR Belgium in a European context, Chair Yves Van de Peer (VIB, UGent, BE)

  • ELIXIR, a distributed infrastructure for life-science information, Niklas Blomberg (Director ELIXIR, UK) - Slides
  • ELIXIR Belgium, towards a Belgian node, Frederik Coppens (deputy Head of Node ELIXIR-BE, VIB, UGent, BE) - Slides
  • European Open Science Cloud, Barend Mons (High Level Expert Group EOSC, NL) - Slides
  • Break
  • Link to learn, learn to link: Connecting human data in an ELIXIR TraIT-EGA implementation study, Sanne Abeln (VU, Amsterdam, NL) - Slides
  • Industry & ELIXIR, Tine Lewi (Janssen, BE) - Slides
  • Comparative genomics to the rescue: using PLAZA to better understand plant biology, Klaas Vandepoele (UGent, VIB, BE) - Slides
  • Towards a Belgian Clinical Genome Resource, Yves Moreau (KU Leuven, imec, BE) - Slides

17.35     Closing of the event, Yves Van de Peer (VIB, UGent, BE)

17.45     Reception


Twitter Hashtag:  #ELIXIRbe17

Organizing committee: Yves Van de Peer (VIB-PSB), Frederik Coppens (VIB-PSB), Kim De Ruyck (VIB-PSB), Lennart Martens (VIB-CMB and UGent), Paola Masuzzo (VIB-CMB and UGent)