ELIXIR-STEERS launches: UK Node bolsters green strategies, workflows and training

On February 1st 2024, ELIXIR initiated the EU-funded ELIXIR-STEERS project, propelling European research infrastructure forward with a substantial €4M budget. This collaborative three-year initiative aims to enhance large-scale, cross-border federated analysis in the life sciences within the European Research Area.

Engaging all ELIXIR Nodes, spanning 36 institutes across 23 countries, and EMBL-EBI, ELIXIR-STEERS directly benefits Europe’s life scientists by ensuring software and workflows meet the specific requirements of national centres. Moreover, it supports ELIXIR’s long-term operations by addressing the recommendations of the European Commission for sustainable operations.

Members from the UK Node, represented by the University of Manchester and Earlham Institute, including Carole Goble, Munazah Andrabi, and Nicola Soranzo, will play leading roles in various activities. 

A key focus for the UK Node is enhancing workflow reusability, reducing the environmental impact of workflow management systems and building capacity. 

Key initiatives by the UK Node

  1. Workflow reusability: Recognised as a critical component, WorkflowHub will play a crucial role in achieving the goal of workflow reusability. UK partners will focus on providing credit and attributions for workflows and integrating Knowledge Graphs. Additionally, UK partners will contribute towards WorkflowHub, Workflow-RO-Crate, and FAIR Computational Workflows using Bioschemas markup to support the reusability of workflows.
  2. Optimising environmental impact: UK Node members will lead the integration of optimisation criteria for environmental impact in common workflow management systems like Galaxy and Nextflow. In particular, the project will implement features that make researchers aware of the energy consumption and carbon footprint of their analyses and let them avoid unnecessary computations by leveraging the provenance information recorded by the workflow systems.
  3. Capacity building: The project will strengthen training, organisation, and research management for ELIXIR Nodes. The UK Node will support the overall objective with two essential resources, RDMkit and TeSS, both ELIXIR-UK services.

Together, the ELIXIR Nodes involved in this project are set to provide a robust, reproducible, and green approach to software and workflow provision, ensuring scientists have access to high-quality, energy-efficient analysis tools.

For more information about the project, visit the official webpages on the ELIXIR Europe site>> 

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