Earlham Institute awarded £31.4m to power data-intensive bioscience

The Earlham Institute has been awarded £31.4m from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UKRI, to deliver an ambitious programme of research, develop new technology, and deliver innovation and impact over the next five years.

This investment covers two new strategic programmes of research – Cellular Genomics and Decoding Biodiversity – and two National Bioscience Research Infrastructures (NBRIs) – Transformative Genomics and the Earlham Biofoundry. 

It also includes core funding, helping to support Research e-Infrastructure, advanced scientific training, and operational costs that enable the Institute’s research to deliver maximum impact.

Funding for the Earlham Institute, which is based at the Norwich Research Park, is part of a wider investment from the BBSRC in life science research institutes and infrastructure totalling more than £376m between 2023 – 2028.

Professor Neil Hall, Earlham Institute Director, said: “This significant investment allows us to continue delivering world-leading research in genomics and data science.

“We’re embarking on an incredibly ambitious, highly-collaborative, and multidisciplinary programme of research we believe will be transformative for the field of life science – as well as benefiting global society in the long term.”

All of the BBSRC-supported institutes are closely connected, with the ability to work together or share knowledge, expertise, and infrastructure across the whole of the UK,”

Prof Neil Hall, Director of the Earlham Institute

Innovative research and infrastructure

The Cellular Genomics research programme will explore the origins and impact of genomic variation in healthy cells, and how this affects the response to environmental stress. The Decoding Biodiversity programme will develop the tools and resources to turn genome collections and big datasets into new knowledge and discoveries.

In order to maximise the impact of these programmes, the Institute has assembled a range of academic and industry collaborators and partners, each adding value and sharing their expertise.

Partners on the Cellular Genomics programme include The Alan Turing Institute, UK Health Security Agency, Quadram Institute, and Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. Those on the Decoding Biodiversity programme include the Quadram Institute, IBERS, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, IBM Research, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The Earlham Institute will also lead a strand of work in the Delivering Sustainable Wheat (DSW) programme, which seeks to develop the genomic resources to safeguard the future of this critical source of global calories. DSW is led by the John Innes Centre, with collaborators from across the UK. BBSRC has also provided partnership funding to support the delivery of the Institute’s strategic programmes.

The NBRIs are critical to these programmes, as well as supporting other research projects, and provide services to the UK bioscience community.

Transformative Genomics provides access to the latest technology platforms and analytical methods for DNA and gene expression analysis, while the Earlham Biofoundry offers both equipment and expertise in automation, large experiment design, and engineering biology approaches…Read more