Menu
  Introduction How VSM works Summary Examples Discussion Graphs SciCura About

8.   About

Creator/s

Dr. Steven Vercruysse created most of this site’s text, all its figures, and embedded software.
He is currently Independent Researcher (PhD in Computational Biotechnology, MSc in Computer Science, MSc in Physics) in Trondheim, Norway.1 Come visit us if you like VSM! – Or invite us to your own city.


In addition, Prof. Dr. Martin Kuiper (Professor in Systems Biology), contributed with feedback and edits to the formal parts of the How VSM Works and the Discussion page. He also took the role of afternoon sounding board during the evolution of ideas that formed VSM.
Martin Kuiper, and soon also Astrid Lægreid, created a friendly, interdisciplinary research environment, that led wet-lab biologists and computer specialists to sit together and identify problems that could be addressed with combined expertise.

We are indebted to Florian Leitner, Erick Antezana, Heri Ramampiaro, Rune Sætre, and Maria K Andersen for feedback on and critical reading of earlier, very different versions of the How VSM Works and Discussion texts. – We especially thank Chris Mungall, Vasundra Touré, John Zobolas, Astrid Lægreid, Marcio L. Acencio, Sushil Tripathi, Liv Thommesen, Arne Jenssen, Ane M. Gabrielsen, Sophia Efstathiou, Paul D. Thomas, Livia Perfetto, Ruth Lovering, for feedback and/or encouragement. – We also thank scientists at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), International Society for Biocuration (ISB), Gene Regulation Consortium (GRECO), University of California / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (BBOP, UC Berkeley / LNBL), and many others for valuable discussions and suggestions.2 Looking back to the beginning, I realize that at first we only had a rudimentary idea of how to explain VSM.
Florian’s, Erick’s and a few hundreds of others’ input helped us improve many ways in which our earlier explanations were quite unclear. They gave us insight in how to explain VSM toward scientists with diverse backgrounds.
Thank you all for bearing through that!

Funding Information

First, the conception of the initial idea was supported by Funksjonell Genomforskning (FUGE) of Midt-Norge and NTNU.  –  Next, it was further developed and implemented solely by private, otherwise unfunded efforts by Steven Vercruysse.3 Yes… in today’s scientific funding system, you’re a temp forever. – And some years nothing at all, if you dare to be passionate about your brainchild.
And this situation is, quite, a common, problem. It’s also a strong push to move outside academia, to be less worried about one’s future.
Perhaps I should do that after sharing this project here! Unless we’re able to draw attention to VSM, to help us convince risk‑averse project reviewers…, or try our luck in industry.
  –  Recently the further application of this prototype was funded via the ‘Well-constructed Knowledge Commons’ project of The Research Council of Norway (NFR).   –  Currently funding has ended again.4 Facing the choice of 1) spending another year on writing a dozen 6%-chance-of-success grant applications (chance is especially low when working on a ground-breaking new technology), and 2) actually producing results that are beneficial for society (designing VSM, exploring its semantics, developing Vsmjs, and writing all papers), I chose… the responsible thing to do, which unfortunately leads to long bouts of unemployment.


➨ ➨ ➨  Please support my further work on Patreon/stevencruy.  ⬅ ⬅ ⬅

How we got here

The foundation of VSM‘s design was laid starting in 2008. By then it had become obvious, from many interactions with biologists, that new methods for concerting their knowledge into some database format were dearly needed. After we created VSM‘s foundations, and despite many attempts to raise funding for implementing VSM, we were unable to convince funding agencies of the importance of making research findings computable, or to make a dedicated effort to develop technology to this end.

We therefore implemented a proof-of-concept VSM UI without funding. We embedded it in a web application (SciCura v1) and curators in our group were happy to test and use it. This gave us a clearer insight into the nature of VSM, how to use it, and how to explain it to third parties while avoiding common misunderstandings. This process was crucial for the text on this site.

The development of VSM is a demonstration of the difficulty encountered by young scientists to mature their groundbreaking ideas into transformative implementations, and calls for new modalities of project support by funding agencies.

We are only human

If you enjoyed this site, it would be nice to hear a simple ‘Hi!’ from you.  Just to keep our spirits high and to know if we’re making an impact.




This site was prepublished in draft form in Oct 2017,
and last updated in Jul 2020,
before official publication.





    Blue notes list:

  1. 1 Come visit us if you like VSM! – Or invite us to your own city.
  2. 2 Looking back to the beginning, I realize that at first we only had a rudimentary idea of how to explain VSM.
    Florian’s, Erick’s and a few hundreds of others’ input helped us improve many ways in which our earlier explanations were quite unclear. They gave us insight in how to explain VSM toward scientists with diverse backgrounds.
    Thank you all for bearing through that!
  3. 3 Yes… in today’s scientific funding system, you’re a temp forever. – And some years nothing at all, if you dare to be passionate about your brainchild.
    And this situation is, quite, a common, problem. It’s also a strong push to move outside academia, to be less worried about one’s future.
    Perhaps I should do that after sharing this project here! Unless we’re able to draw attention to VSM, to help us convince risk‑averse project reviewers…, or try our luck in industry.
  4. 4 Facing the choice of 1) spending another year on writing a dozen 6%-chance-of-success grant applications (chance is especially low when working on a ground-breaking new technology), and 2) actually producing results that are beneficial for society (designing VSM, exploring its semantics, developing Vsmjs, and writing all papers), I chose… the responsible thing to do, which unfortunately leads to long bouts of unemployment.