19 Nov 2020

CLIMB project receives honours for supporting COG-UK alongside other computing teams


CLIMB project receives honours for supporting COG-UK alongside other computing teams

HPCwire has presented the Cloud Infrastructure for Microbial Bioinformatics (CLIMB) project, alongside other computing teams across COG-UK, with the Readers’ Best High Performance Computing Collaboration award, after providing COG-UK with vital computing infrastructure and bioinformatics analysis.

The critical role of the CLIMB project in supporting the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium has been recognised by HPCwire in the 2020 Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards.

CLIMB, alongside other computing teams across COG-UK, was presented with the Readers’ Best High Performance Computing Collaboration award during the virtual International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC20) via

CLIMB has proved pivotal to COG-UK in providing the computing infrastructure and bioinformatics analysis capability that has so far helped sequence over 110,000 virus genomes — to help understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and advise local and national control strategies.

What is CLIMB?

CLIMB was launched in 2014, supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to meet the needs of medical microbiologists handling vast amounts of data coming from high-throughput genomics. It is an open, cloud-based computing infrastructure for developing and sharing datasets and bioinformatics software, tools and methods to interpret ‘big data’.

CLIMB represents a partnership between the Universities of BathBirminghamCardiffLeicesterSwansea and Warwick, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Quadram Institute Bioscience.


How has CLIMB supported the COG-UK consortium?

After the UK Government and Chief Scientific Adviser announced a £20 million initiative to map how COVID-19 spreads and evolves on March 23rd 2020 — the COG-UK consortium — CLIMB’s pre-existing infrastructure and expertise allowed the consortium to launch quickly and deliver rapid genome sequencing data of SARS-CoV-2.

Insights from these data have informed national decision-making of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) as well as the local public health level, including monitoring outbreaks in real-time.

A special thanks to a dedicated team

COG-UK would like to give a special thanks to Dr Sam Nicholls, Radoslaw Poplawski, and Simon Thompson from the University of Birmingham, and Dr Matt Bull and Dr Christine Kitchen from the University of Cardiff for their continued hard work on the CLIMB project and support in hosting the equipment.


COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK)

The current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, represents a major threat to health. The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium has been created to deliver large-scale and rapid whole-genome virus sequencing to local NHS centres and the UK government.

Led by Professor Sharon Peacock of the University of Cambridge, COG-UK is made up of an innovative partnership of NHS organisations, the four Public Health Agencies of the UK, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and twelve academic partners providing sequencing and analysis capacity. A full list of collaborators can be found here:

COG-UK was established in March 2020 supported by £20 million funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, administered by UK Research and Innovation. For more information, visit:


About HPCwire

HPCwire is the #1 news and information resource covering the fastest computers in the world and the people who run them. With a legacy of world-class editorial and journalism dating back to 1987, HPCwire is the news source of choice for science, technology and business professionals interested in high performance and data-intensive computing. Visit HPCwire at