EI boost National Capability in Genomics and Single Cell Analysis with ultra-high throughput sequencing platform

09 April 2018

Earlham Institute (EI) add Illumina’s NovaSeq 6000 to its National Capability in Genomics and Single Cell Analysis, harnessing the power of ultra-high throughput sequencing for Norwich Research Park and the wider bioscience community.

The new platform will increase its sequencing capacity threefold and enable big data science more rapidly and cost-effectively than ever before, with the ability to sequence up to six trillion bases in less than two days - the equivalent to 48 human genomes or nine wheat genomes.

The state-of-the-art sequencing technology will make genome research more accessible to other institutes at NRP, industry partners and a global community of bioscience researchers - enabling scientists to decode the DNA of virtually any organism across the widest range of applications from basic science and agriculture to biotechnology and medicine.  

DNA sequencing has become a fundamental technology for bioscience research and EI has been at the forefront of sequencing advances for nearly a decade; releasing new technologies to the community and delivering high-quality data to hundreds of collaborators across the UK and beyond. The NovaSeq 6000 will complement the Institute’s unique suite of advanced technology platforms dedicated to the biosciences, including advanced genomics pipelines for DNA sequencing, cutting-edge DNA Foundry laboratories for synthetic biology, and one of the largest high-performance computing systems for life sciences in Europe.

EI’s investment in the NovaSeq 6000 is supported by an advanced equipment grant from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), led by Prof Neil Hall at EI and with collaborators at Norwich Research Park. The rapid deployment of the NovaSeq 6000 will boost the continued success of the Institute's National Capability in Genomics and Single-Cell Analysis operated by EI, bringing the benefits of ultra-high throughput sequencing into the mainstream and accelerating new opportunities for academic and commercial research. 

The performance and capability of EI’s NovaSeq will initially be evaluated by pilot projects in collaboration with the John Innes Centre, Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia, including novel approaches to capture genetic diversity in wheat, identification of self-incompatibility genes in primrose, and a study of the chicken gut microbiome. Prof Hall and his collaborators plan to present their early findings at the UK Genome Science 2018 in Nottingham.

EI Head of Genomics Pipelines, Dr Karim Gharbi, said: The NovaSeq 6000 is a perfect fit for EI and a key asset in our commitment to providing the UK bioscience community with access to the latest sequencing platforms and technologies. The instrument will integrate seamlessly into our high-throughput pipelines for DNA and RNA sequencing, significantly reducing costs and turn-around times.”

EI Director Prof Neil Hall, added: “This grant investment is a result of successful collaborations across Norwich Research Park and will ensure that EI continues to offer the most cutting-edge genomics platforms to our partners on the science park and across the UK.”

Notes to editors.

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact:

Hayley London

Marketing & Communications Officer, Earlham Institute (EI)

  • +44 (0)1603 450 107


About Earlham Institute

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a world-leading research Institute focusing on the development of genomics and computational biology. EI is based within the Norwich Research Park and is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) - £5.43m in 2017/18 - as well as support from other research funders. - as well as support from other research funders. EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

EI offers a state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a training programme through courses and workshops, and an outreach programme targeting key stakeholders, and wider public audiences through dialogue and science communication activities.



The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. 

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by the government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.