On January 8th swissnex China hosted a symposium in Shanghai on the occasion of the first visit of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) to China. The delegation of the SIB had the opportunity to meet and interact with their academic peers from Chinese universities and other organizations. The SIB's executive director, Prof. Appel, was "very impressed by the incredible high quality of science" in Shanghai.
The SIB was established in 1998 as an academic non-profit foundation. 38 service and research groups at universities with more than 580 scientists in different fields are members of SIB. The foundation has two main missions: to bring together Swiss bioinformaticians and to develop a number of core bioinformatics resources such as databases, software and platforms to provide these to the world wide life science community.
The goals of their visit were threefold. First of all, a lot of their resources are provided on a global scale. China has become one of the largest user base for the services of the SIB. Therefore the SIB wanted to visit the labs here and meet their users in China. Secondly, the SIB wanted to explore opportunities for future collaborations. Especially Shanghai is an interesting location for collaborations, because of the density of science and technology one can find here. Last but not least, the SIB has just started his new SIB fellowship program to recruit and train the best international students in the field of bioinformatics. One of the major problems in Europe is the shortage of bioinformaticians. The program should tackle this issue and bring the best talents from around the world to Switzerland for training. China has a lot of excellent students and maybe in the future some of them want to come to Switzerland to start their PhD.
The Symposium gathered key leaders from organizations such as Taicang Life Sciences Institutes, Beijing University, Shanghai Bioinformation Technology, Beijing Insitute of Genomics. The Chinese delegation was led by President of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Dr. Xuetao Cao. After a series of short talks, the discussion centered on the possibility for collaboration, in particular in connection with the roadmap for a national Chinese bioinformatics center.