Informatics and Digital Solutions

Scientific Computing

We support the Sanger Institute’s mission to deliver innovative and ambitious genomics research at a scale to improve human health and understand life of on earth. We do this providing best-in-class and scalable research IT, research data, research software/informatics, enterprise IT and information security.

Informatics and Digital Solutions is led by James McCafferty, Chief Information Officer.

The Sanger Institute’s scientists and administrators conceive and collaborate on world-leading genomics research projects that employ cutting-edge laboratory, imaging, sequencing and computational and techniques in partnership with scientific partners around the globe. The role of Informatics and Digital Solutions is to directly support the science of the Sanger Institute by partnering with our researcher colleagues to solve scientific problems together.

To achieve this, we provide solutions that work seamlessly, robustly and at scale in collaboration with Sanger’s informaticians, researchers, scientific partners around the world, and vendors. Our goal is design, tailor and develop solutions that not only satisfy the needs of our scientists, but also provide the tools to enable them to imagine and deliver research that has not been possible before. By working flexibly and employing agile methodologies, we seek to help our scientists to push the boundaries of what is possible.

We avoid siloed thinking by taking an Institute-wide view of all the software, applications, networks, platforms and services we develop and provide. Our aim is to maximise value by identifying synergies and opportunities for the solutions we develop and deliver to power research activities across the Institute’s science portfolio.

So that we are best placed to advise Sanger’s research programmes on best-in-class solutions, we actively horizon-scan for, and report on, new technologies and opportunities. In this way, we seek to furnish our research leaders with expert knowledge to plan for, and exploit, emerging fields of genomic analysis, wet laboratory technologies, single-cell genomics, cellular imaging and machine learning.

In addition, we strive to lay the foundations for national, international and global genomic research and collaboration by driving, delivering and sharing best practice and standards. We partner with leading companies and research organisations across the UK and beyond to discover and disseminate the latest ideas and opportunities to provide quality data and platforms for open science.

We are dedicated to ensuring that our data is FAIR – findable, interoperable, accessible and reproducible – and is handled sensitively, appropriately and securely. A key requirement is to ensure the nature and quality of the data being produced and stored by Sanger’s research teams, pipelines and platforms is such that it can be usefully interrogated for ever greater insights in the future. An important area of this work is to ensure that we develop robust data standards, metadata collection.

We seek to power global research by enabling research partners to leverage our systems to conduct meaningful experiments and analysis on their own data securely and safely. We work transparently to ensure that our solutions enable reproducible, seamless and standardised data sharing and analysis, through cloud-based platforms, storage and access whenever possible.

We are also dedicated to the free flow of information, ideas and skills throughout our Informatics and Digital Solutions teams, informaticians and research programmes. We are establishing an informatics community of practice across all the Institute’s informatics teams to share best practice, standardise formats and applications and deliver maximum value.


Informatics and Digital Solutions is structured into six key departments. To find out more, please use the links below

  • Agile Change Delivery
    Leads on change projects for IDS. Provides guidance, support and training in delivering large change projects across Informatics and Digital Solutions through Agile methodology and other change management techniques.
  • Enterprise Solutions
    Enables the smooth running of the entire research and administrative operations of the Sanger Institute and research projects by providing cost-effective and performant Information Technology solutions across the Wellcome Genome Campus.
  • Information Governance and Security
    Safeguards the cyber security of the Institute’s and collaborator’s research data and work. This includes supporting, guiding and overseeing access to, and handling of sensitive data.
  • Pipeline Solutions
    Builds, improves and maintains the Institute’s research workflows and pipelines that provide seamless generation, storage and access to the data generated by Sanger’s scientific experiments, large-scale cellular generation and analysis, and DNA sequencing operations.
  • Platform Solutions
    Provides a powerhouse for all infrastructure and technology platforms and support, including research / high-performance compute and data platforms.
  • Science Solutions
    Provides direct support to scientific programmes and informatics teams with new and innovative solutions to help enable and accelerate our science.

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