DIPLOMICS was officially launched in April 2017, following a 2-year preparation phase where it emerged as one of the priority areas from the DST’s SARIR program
The program is incubated at the Centre for Proteomic & Genomic Research (CPGR) for an (initial) 3-year pilot phase. The envisaged life-cycle of DIPLOMICS is (at least) 10 years, with a view to effectively cater to the long implementation and impact horizons of large-scale life science infrastructure investments. The program reports to the DST and is aided by a Steering Committee (composition to be confirmed) as well as supported by a diversity of working groups (WGs).
The pilot aims at building the foundation for longer-term and larger-scale infrastructure creation, among others by virtue of mapping the status quo of omics infrastructure in South Africa and galvanising the system into a coherent framework that allows more efficient utilisation of existing and deployment of new infrastructure.
The program envisages to achieve this by way of aligning a diversity of stakeholders, in particular omics facilities, users, and funders. To facilitate this process, DIPLOMICS is creating an online market place for current and new omics facilities, to showcase what capacity already exists, to increase user access, and to enhance productivity of the system as a whole. Among others, these aims will be supported by an emphasis on high quality service delivery; and, they will be powered by community-lead working groups (WGs).
In addition to having technology-centric WGs, DIPLOMICS endeavors to strengthen the omics system by (i) facilitating user engagement and measuring user satisfaction; (ii) supporting, stimulating and driving strategic initiatives that utilize and/or enhance omics infrastructure; (iii) developing a framework for socio-economic impact investment, in support of attracting more support, in-kind and in-cash, from local and international institutions.
Presently, the program aims at aligning its activities with key funders in the life science and biotech arena, notably the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). This is in the interest of leveraging existing capacity and concentrating efforts behind common goals, notably the creation of a viable South African bio-economy.