Genome sequencing has made it possible to examine fundamental biological questions over a huge range of scales; from bacteria to man. Since the first bacterial genome was published 20 years ago, there has been an explosion in the production of sequence data, fuelled by next-generation sequencing, placing biology at the forefront of data-driven science. As a consequence, there is now huge demand for the physical infrastructure to produce, analyse and share software and datasets. This need is compounded by the continuing lack of trained bioinformaticians to analyse the data. These needs are made more acute by the siloisation of bioinformatics development and data sharing. Often software is developed on local systems that are impossible to replicate outside of the host institution. This acts as a barrier to data and software sharing, and reduces the reproducibility of biological research that is underpinned by bioinformatics.

To begin to address this need, in 2014 the UK Medical Research Council made a ~£50m investment in “big data” to support the development of new research infrastructures. The £8.5m CLoud Infrastructure for Microbial Bioinformatics (CLIMB) was the only award to a microbial consortium and is one the largest investments in microbial genomics bioinformatics ever made. CLIMB will provide training alongside bioinformatics infrastructure as a service to the academic UK medical microbial community. In this talk I will introduce some of the issues that microbial bioinformaticians face in the UK, and how we are overcoming these using our newly deployed infrastructure.