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European Genomic Data Project to Facilitate Federated Network

A newly launched European Genomic Data Infrastructure (GDI) project involves a consortium of partners from 20 European countries. It will facilitate a cross-border federated network of national genome collections for biomedical research and personalized medicine.

The aim of the GDI project is to realize the 1+ Million Genomes initiative’s ambition of creating a data infrastructure that will enable secure access to genomics and corresponding clinical data across Europe. The GDI project seeks to unlock a data network of over one million genome sequences for research and clinical reference. This will create unprecedented opportunities for transnational and multi-stakeholder actions in personalized medicine for common, rare and infectious diseases.

The 1+MG initiative was signed in 2018 and aims to enable secure access to genomics and corresponding clinical data across Europe. This will lead to better research, personalized healthcare and health policymaking. The Beyond 1 Million Genomes (B1MG) project started in 2020 and is developing guidelines for implementing the 1+MG Initiative and creating blueprints and recommendations for creating federated networks of genomic data.

The new €40 million GDI project is being coordinated by ELIXIR (the European life-sciences Infrastructure for biological Information), an initiative that allows life science laboratories across Europe to share and store their research data as part of an organized network. GDI is jointly funded by the European Commission under the Digital Europe Programme and through co-funding from participating Member States.

The GDI project will make data accessible for research, clinical reference and policy development uses through three pillars of work, supported by a coordination work package.

Pillar I brings together country representatives to agree on a long-term governance model, a legal framework and a business model for the infrastructure. These will ensure the infrastructure continues to operate after the end of the GDI project.

Pillar II implements the infrastructure by increasing the interoperability of European data resources. It ensures these resources can operate as part of the 1+MG infrastructure and are ready to access once the required agreements are in place. “Real” synthetic data will be used to demonstrate and validate the infrastructure, and data provided from EU projects under their current agreements.

Pillar III guides the implementation of the project through key use cases (for example, the Genome of Europe, cancer data and infectious disease data). It works with clinicians, researchers and innovators to identify solutions that could form part of the infrastructure.

In a separate announcement, Ireland said it has officially joined the 1+ Million Genomes (1+MG) Initiative. Ireland also plans to launch a National Strategy for Accelerating Genomic Medicine on Dec. 13.

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