UK EU Referendum Update

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The recent EU referendum will undoubtedly have implications for the future of UK science. It now seems equally clear that those implications will remain unknown for some time to come. No matter what happens next, we want to emphasize our ongoing commitment to the OME project and to our community.

It is unlikely that our current funding will be altered by the outcome of the referendum or by the apparent upcoming changes to the political landscape. The major awards that support OME’s work–from the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC–are from UK-based institutions. We also participate in several EU projects– Euro-BioImaging, Global BioImaging, MULTIMOT, and CORBEL–that will expire within the two-year window being discussed in the media as the minimum time needed to negotiate a UK departure from the EU. Our understanding is that our participation in these projects is not in question. (We also have newly awarded funding to announce–once we have the final documentation!)

Furthermore, our recent Users Meeting in Dundee once again confirmed strong support from our community and the critical need to develop the tools that will enable the discoveries from next generation imaging technologies that are now appearing in the community’s laboratories. None of our immediate milestones will be modified, and we will keep delivering Bio-Formats, OMERO, and the Image Data Resource1 just as our users expect. We will continue to explore new avenues for funding, based on our community’s need and validation of our software, just as we have done since 2002.

Since the project’s origins, our identity and values have been rooted in openness, and international, cross-cultural collaboration. OME’s achievements have always been made possible by the combined talents of an international team, dedicated to open source software, open development practice, and open engagement with our broad, diverse, and dedicated user community. Today, the members of our development team represent more than ten different nations from both within and outside the EU. Many of us are “immigrants”–we’ve actively chosen to live in new countries with our families to deliver on the promises of interoperability and scale in scientific image informatics. We are a dedicated, multi-national, multi-lingual team that builds and delivers tools that support the global bioimaging community. We think diversity is one of our strengths, as it ensures a range of viewpoints and ideas. We therefore reaffirm our support for inclusion and diversity, and strongly object to the politics of fear and racism that have characterised some of the recent political discussions, referenda and elections. We are an example of the best aspects of the modern, interconnected world that unites dedicated, talented individuals, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual identity or national origin, with a mission to drive scientific insight and discovery for the benefit of all humankind.

  1. At the time of publication, this was referred to as the ‘Image Data Repository’. 

July 5, 2016

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