Informatics, bioinformatics and ‘big data’
Advice on research activities
‘Bioinformatics’ is a relatively new interdisciplinary field focusing on interpretation of complex biological data. Studies using bioinformatics will therefore be usually coded in:
- 1 Underpinning for fundamental biology – particularly 1.1 Biological and 1.4 Methodology
- 2 Aetiology if assessing disease cause, risk or development – particularly 2.1 Endogenous risks and 2.5 Design
Evidence obtained via bioinformatics research may also lead to biomarkers for diagnostic applications (4 Detection and Diagnosis), and development of new therapeutics (5 Treatment Development). However these are often potential future applications and not the main objective of the current research.
The wider topic of ‘Informatics’ – the science of processing, interpretation and storing of vast quantities of data – can often refer to significant resources with wide-reaching applications in health research. As such the guidance for Resources and Infrastructure should be followed when awards support the creation of ‘big data’ repositories. However, the onward use of informatics data should be treated as any other database or resource used in research, with awards coded based on the main research objective.