The Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels ((IB)2) was founded in 2013, bringing together researchers from computer science, life sciences and medicine, both from ULB and VUB, involving, in total, six different faculties. The main objective of the institute is to generate scientific excellence in bioinformatics, computational biology and systems biology.
(IB)2 achieves this by being a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment open to all who wish to work on fundamental and applied scientific questions for which novel bioinformatics and computational biology approaches need to be developed.
The (IB)2 is recognized as a ULB-VUB joint research group (JRG) since 2014, with renewal in 2018, and has grown to over 70 members, including principal investigators (PIs) and young researchers.
(IB)2 has during its 7-year existence become a unique brand in the national and international landscape on bioinformatics research, with currently 141 articles published in many Q1 journals. Where many other national universities created virtual collaborations, ULB and VUB made the choice to provide a physical location for the collaborative environment. This choice has been an important factor for the success of the institute and remains an important advantage for its future growth.
Another key factor in this success is that the institute received seeding funds from both ULB and VUB when founded. These funds were used to start up 8 collaborative one-year PhD projects, selected by the steering committee based on external peer review, and to organize the (IB)2 premises located on the La Plaine Campus of the ULB. Since then, all new PhDs and postdoctoral researchers working at the (IB)2 are funded via a diverse set of projects acquired by VUB and ULB PIs, as well as personal grants obtained by the PhDs themselves. Many of these projects are now well-developed ULB/VUB collaborations.
The institute is managed by a VUB and an ULB director, who are supported by staff provided by the Science Faculty of the ULB. Current directors are prof. Tom Lenaerts for the ULB and prof Sophie de Buyl for the VUB.