News Release

McMaster University and Cisco Collaborate to Further Bioinformatics Research and Build Institutional Research Cloud

Cloud infrastructure set to transform and facilitate academic research in Canada
May 08, 2013

HAMILTON, ON—May 8, 2013 – McMaster University and Cisco Canada today announced they have established a long-term relationship which will see the university increase research activities in Integrated Health Biosystems and Bioinformatics. McMaster and Cisco will also establish a university-wide research cloud computing environment and infrastructure. This relationship will see McMaster build on its renowned research successes and strengthen its links with national and international partners from academia, government and industry.

As part of the agreement, Cisco is providing a $2.1 million contribution to McMaster. The contribution includes $1.6 million over eight years to establish a Professorship in Integrated Health Biosystems, as well as $500,000 over five years to establish a Research Chair in Bioinformatics.

The Research Chair in Bioinformatics will collaborate on a program in Integrated Health Biosystems, the aim of which will be to bridge the existing gulf between data-intensive areas of biomedical research and healthcare by integrating diverse biological datasets with clinical and environmental data.

The Professorship in Integrated Health Biosystems will help to establish a cloud-based computational infrastructure designed to manage, analyze, integrate and distribute the vast amounts of data resulting from biomedical research, clinical trials, and patient feedback.

Current research initiatives at the university tend to store data in separate databases, accessed primarily by the original research team and seldom shared across different studies. By creating one simple cloud-based infrastructure to both house research data and provide high performance analysis, multiple Faculties at McMaster will have easy access to technology resources, and be able to share data and collaborate for a more comprehensive delivery of results. In the future, this "research cloud" could serve multiple institutions and research facilities.

Facts and Highlights:

  • The proposed research cloud will help to lower operating costs for researchers and facilitate the growth of cutting edge areas of research.
  • An institutional research cloud will allow McMaster to quickly grow, change and adapt the computing environment as research needs dictate, through greater flexibility and the quick positioning and migration of computing resources to meet the changing needs of researchers.
  • A cloud-based architecture allows for a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model of access, granting researchers highly secure and easy access to sensitive data kept safely on campus, from any resource connected to the internet.
  • McMaster expects the cloud environment will also facilitate research sharing with other universities, institutes and colleges as well as collaborations with industry.

Supporting quotes:

Dr. Patrick Deane, president and vice-chancellor, McMaster University:

"The significance of this relationship with Cisco is enormous. We're home to some of the world's leading researchers who continue to make discoveries through novel approaches and applications. The Chair in Bioinformatics and the Professorship in Biosystems will allow us to increase our research capacity and capture the value of the exponentially increasing volumes of data generated by our researchers. This investment will give us the much needed infrastructure to share our information with our local, national and global partners."

Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada:

"Living in an increasingly connected world brings certain challenges to researchers in terms of managing vast amounts of data and making it easily accessible to the right people for maximum benefit. Cisco and McMaster both realize that this challenge can be turned into a fantastic opportunity to not only improve the way this data is managed, but to also analyze how people's connection to others and to devices continues to evolve. This innovative project has the potential to transform the way academic research is conducted in Canada and throughout the world."

About McMaster University

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 156,000 alumni in 140 countries.

About Cisco

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