Over the past 18 months, the Bioinformatics/Computational Biology (B/CB) Advisory Committee has worked closely with research funders to develop a strategic framework with a view to building a fully integrated Canadian B/CB capacity across the life sciences. One of the key items that has already emerged from this consultative process was the interest and strong willingness to organize a regularly scheduled Canadian Computational Conference. Given the fortuitous planning of the ISMB-sponsored regional GLBIO2016 conference in Toronto, select members of the B/CB advisory group were delighted to be invited to co-organize the first Canadian Computational Biology Conference with the Great Lakes Bioinformatics (GLBIO) conference for 2016.
This first Canadian Computational Biology conference will offer Canadians the opportunity to bring stakeholders together to explore the possibility of an action plan for the formation of a national network, including how it needs to be structured and funded to ensure its sustainability. By establishing a Canadian B/CB conference the research community and stakeholders have the opportunity to build an integrated community that is linked to International initiatives. We look forward to the meeting serving as a platform upon which like-minded individuals will inform others on the potential benefits that such a meeting would bring to the B/CB community in Canada.
In addition to gathering the National and US/Canadian great lakes community in this inaugural Canadian Computational Biology conference, we have the opportunity to put together an exciting scientific program and venue that will benefit students, scientists and managers at all level of people through the proceedings at this conference. As the first launch of the Canadian conference, the organizers are grateful for the considerable organizational support and experience of the International Society of Computational Biology and the local chapter of the Great Lakes Bioinformatics conference, who have done much to assist the Canadian meeting.
Since the beginning of this initiative, both Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (through the Institute of Genetics and its B/CB sub-committee) have been steadfast in their support of this community. While it is clear that there remains much work to be done, both organizations have participated in a vision that brings the Canadian community together. Without their sponsorships, support and assistance the Canadian conference would not have been possible.
Keeping up with the needs of the life sciences community for innovative and increasingly complex algorithms, tools and databases is surpassing existing researcher capacity. There is a pressing need to coordinate and integrate what is currently being done in Canada to be able to meet the demands of the user community. The establishment of this national conference is the first step in coordinating our efforts within the B/CB community, in collaboration with research funders, infrastructure providers, users and other stakeholders. Finally, this first conference will provide the Canadian community with a pivotal forum for discussions as to how best to bring all stakeholders together in support of a sustainable national network.
More details on the Canadian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology community will always be available from the bioinformatics.ca website.