Biozentrum: New People and Progress

We have a new person who started mid-January at the Biozentrum, Vincent Rouilly. With Eva Pujadas we now have two SyBIT people in the team of Michael Podvinec. Both Eva and Vincent will support directly InfectX and BattleX, as well as participate in the development of other SyBIT projects as needed. Now with the additional effort available the iBrain project was launched. We use the scrum process as much as possible, with Vincent, Eva being the ‘team’, Ela and Berend as the project owner and Michael as the scrum master. Progress can be tracked in the wiki pages of the iBrain project.

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Management Board Meeting

We had the first SyBIT Management Board meeting January 7th in Basel at the Biozentrum. The Management Board are: Ron Appel, Mihaela Zavolan (interim until Peter Widmayer is back from his sabbatical) and Arthur Thomas (all appointed by the Executive Board). There will be regular such meetings between the Project Manager (Peter) and the MB, at least twice a year.

1. We have reconfirmed the MB’s function as

  • Oversight: Strategy, Goals, Finances
  • Final decision making concerning strategy and future direction of SyBIT
  • Exceptional escalation point for disputes that cannot be resolved by the project manager. Prioritization of subprojects, disputes between partners, etc

2. Peter has summarized the achievements of SyBIT in 2009. Also some of the history was revisited. Peter has explained how some of the decisions in 2009 came to be, especially concerning the placement of manpower. The general consent as understood by Peter was that SyBIT has done as well as could be expected so far. The measure of success remains with the RTDs: They assess SyBIT based on what they could (or could not) achieve due to the support of SyBIT.

3. Finances: the special case of SyBIT’s Own Contribution scheme was revisited, and in this also the special case of the SIB. Ownership of software produced, but also future hardware bought needs to be preserved as open, ie. not locked to a single institution but available to the Swiss community also beyond the end of the project.

4. Concerning mid- and long-term strategy, we had a long discussion. The important points were

  • Financial diversity: try to engage industry also in funding or projects.
  • SyBIT needs to be much more than just a funding agency. Having a strong team is paramount, SyBIT has to be more than just the sum of its individual parts.
  • Balance between East and West: historically an imbalance exists, in the west there is a center that is established and works, such a center needs to be created also in the east. Not necessarily physically but as an umbrella organization.
  • Assuring the openness of ownership of everything SyBIT creates and procures.
  • Information on what is available through SyBIT to the community needs to be spread more actively. Existing platforms should be used as much as possible (e.g. Expasy).

5. Next steps

  • The MB will give feedback on the draft document drafted on longevity for D.Trono
  • PK will hook up with Expasy to discuss how to make SyBIT tools available
  • Next Meeting will be scheduled for the summer
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