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    PRESS RELEASE: Ewan Birney wins the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics
    Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Monday, January 24, 2005

    Submitter

    Bioinformatics.Org is proud to present the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics to Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute. As expressed by his nominators, Birney has been a significant force in Open Source in Bioinformatics and science. He has been a strong advocate for making genome information freely available to all. His work co-leading the Ensembl project has made high-quality genome annotation available freely over the web, preventing a class system of labs which can and cannot afford to pay subscription fees to proprietary data. The project has worked hard to make the data available in a variety of ways to make the data accessible and easily available for mining. The Ensembl project has been open-source from the outset, enabling researchers and corporations alike to reuse and extend the software system. Birney has been an advocate of open science as well. Along with Sean Eddy, he criticized journal decisions to allow papers to be published without releasing the genome sequence data at the same time. He is also the author of the freely available Wise package of tools, which are important parts of genome annotation pipelines. He serves as a co-leader of the open-source bioinformatics toolkit Bioperl and also co-founded and currently serves as president of the Open Bioinformatics foundation, an organization that support the development of several bioinformatics toolkits.

    The Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics is a humanitarian award presented annually by Bioinformatics.Org to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the scientific field of bioinformatics. The Award is named for Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of the most remarkable men of his time. Scientist, inventor, statesman, Franklin freely and openly shared his ideas and refused to patent his inventions, and it is the opinion of the founders of Bioinformatics.Org that he embodied the best traits of a scientist.

    At the end of 2004, requests for nominations for the 2005 Award were sent out to more than 12,000 members of Bioinformatics.Org. Any individual who received more than one nomination was considered a nominee and had their name placed on the ballot for final selection by the membership.

    The ceremony for the presentation of the Award will be held at the 2005 Bioinformatics.Org Annual Meeting (BiOAM), held in conjunction with the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo, Boston, Massachusetts, May 17 to 19, 2005. The presentation will be made May 19 at 9:45 AM. It involves a short introduction, the presentation of the certificate, and the laureate seminar. Please see bio-itworldexpo.com for more information on the event.

    Past laureates of the Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics include Lincoln Stein (2004), James Kent (2003) and Michael Eisen (2002). More information on the Award can be found at bioinformatics.org/franklin/.

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