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From the blogosphere

Scientific informatics programmes require massive financial investment, so it is difficult for governments to decide which ones to support. One programme that has been successful in securing funding is the iPlant Collaborative ( — a 'cyberinfrastructure' collaborative for the plant sciences. Recently set up through an initial US$50 million grant from the US National Science Foundation to a five-institution consortium, the iPlant Community's mission is to enable conceptual advances through integrative, computational thinking.

Matt Day, NPG's database publisher, reports on the Nascent blog ( how the iPlant Collaborative, using workshops and other activities, will encourage plant scientists to decide on the range of projects that would be most useful to the field. The outcome should be a set of 'grand challenges' from which new informatics projects will grow. Because the collaborative is an open exercise, it should provide a fascinating window to anyone who wants to see how scientists discuss big, and no doubt contentious, issues.

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From the blogosphere. Nature 453, xiv (2008).

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