New grants raise total investment to $80m
The International Barcode of Life Secretariat has announced major new funding for the world's largest biodiversity genomics project. iBOL Scientific Director Paul Hebert said that four Canadian agencies have made new commitments to iBOL totaling $35 million, raising total investments by these funders to $80 million (all figures in Canadian dollars).
Building on an earlier $5 million award, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation has committed another $8.1 million over the next five years to expand the informatics platform for DNA barcode data.
And Genome Canada is extending its support for the iBOL project for another year with a second funding installment of $4.6 million. This follows the $2 million provided by Genome Canada in 2009-10 to initiate the project through its International Consortium Initiative Program.
Dr. Christian Burks, President and CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute and acting chair of the iBOL Board of Directors, said: "The many international partnerships that comprise iBOL, and which are absolutely key to its success, will benefit tremendously from these funding commitments. We anticipate that the funded research and resources at the Canadian node for iBOL will be greatly leveraged by iBOL nodes in other countries that have already committed funds and research efforts to the project, and will help other potential international partners finalize their commitments to participate in iBOL."
Dr. Hebert said: "As the iBOL project approaches the end of its one-year preparatory phase, we look forward to official activation of this global undertaking with renewed optimism and determination. We are grateful for the vision shown by our federal and provincial governments and by their science funding agencies. Their leadership is enabling an initiative that will transform humanity's relationship with other living organisms."
Dr. Hebert announced that groundbreaking for the new Centre for Biodiversity Genomics will take place this summer at the University of Guelph. This $18 million facility, funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation will house the iBOL Secretariat and key infrastructure needed to support iBOL research. The new centre, which will be the scientific hub for iBOL, is scheduled for completion in fall 2011. (see story on page xx)
Dr. Hebert also welcomed significant contributions from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which awarded $1.2 million to support new DNA barcoding research programs, and from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which has provided $2.2 million to enable researchers in five developing countries - Argentina, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru and South Africa - to play key roles in iBOL.
Dr. Faustino Siñeriz, Vice-President of Argentina's National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, welcomed the additional support provided by IDRC, noting that it reinforced his organization's recent decision to upgrade Argentina's participation in iBOL to a Regional Node.
Paul Skelton, Director of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, said that the IDRC funding would make African biodiversity a much more significant part of the iBOL research program. "It will provide a major incentive for South African institutions to meet the requirements of Regional Node participation in iBOL while giving organizations and researchers from a wide range of African nations the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from IBOL," Dr. Skelton said.