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The Molecular Sequencing Center (CSM) in Barcelona is now one step closer to start-up. The Council of Ministers has approved the Royal Decree that earmarked a 15-million-euro subsidy for the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) –where the new facility will be located- for the first stage of the CSM, which will cover construction of the facility, cutting-edge technological equipment and human resources, as well as a pilot program related to sequencing tumor samples. This pilot project will be carried out under the framework of the Spanish participation in the International Cancer Genome Research Consortium (ICGC), which will evaluate its correct functioning.

The subsidy will come from PlanE funds and be granted in 2009 directly through an agreement between the Ministry of Science and Innovation –in collaboration with the Catalan Departments of Health and Innovation- and the PCB.

70% of genomic researchers in Spain work in Catalonia

The CSM will be a science/technology center for large-scale genome sequencing to cover the growing demand for sequencing in genomic research projects. It will also guarantee successful Spanish participation in the ICGC and ensure nationwide competitiveness in the strategic area of genomics as well as other relevant economic sectors, like biomedicine, agriculture and agrifood biotechnology, environmental bioengineering and renewable energy.

Once the first stage has been completed, the CSM will be consolidated as a science/technology facility by attracting competitiveness funds and other public and private financing sources, allowing it to extend its activity to a range of wide-reaching, strategic R&D&i projects.

The CSM is one of the large-scale, nationwide projects driven by Biocat over the last year, in collaboration with other administrations and Catalan entities. In this case, Biocat has participated directly in negotiations to locate the center in Catalonia. This new center, in conjunction with the Alba synchrotron and the Mare Nostrum supercomputer, will complement a value chain in the BioRegion of Catalonia that offers a unique competitive advantage compared to other European bioregions. Currently, 70% of all genomic researchers in Spain work in Catalan research centers.

For more information on genomics in Catalonia see the Biocat Report 2009.


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