No project is an island and real impact frequently results from dynamic networks and good collaborations. We list below some of our ongoing collaborations.
SYNCHROS (SYNergies for Cohorts in Health: integrating the ROle of all Stakeholders) is a three-year, Horizon 2020, Coordination and Support Action (CSA) funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The objective of SYNCHROS is to create a sustainable European strategy for the development of a next generation of integrated cohorts population, patient and clinical trial cohorts. Through intensive stakeholder involvement (researchers, patients, funding bodies, clinicians, coordinators of previous harmonization and integration exercises), SYNCHROS will meet the need for an international strategic agenda for enhanced coordination and collaboration of cohorts globally. SYNCHROS will address the practical, ethical and legal, and the methodological challenges to optimising the exploitation of current and future cohort data, map the cohort landscape in Europe and large international initiatives, identify the best methods for integrating cohort data, identify solutions for addressing practical, ethical and legal challenges in integrating data across patient, clinical trial and population cohorts, and evaluate the use of emerging and new data collection technologies and types of data. Finally, SYNCHROS will make sustainable recommendations on standards to improve future sample, data collection and data sharing methods and disseminate this information so as to contribute to defining an international strategic agenda for better coordination of cohorts in Europe and beyond.
What are the most relevant diseases in a country? Which risk factors are the strongest contributors to disease and death? How is the impact of different diseases evolving over time, and how does it compare between countries and within subnational units? As the need for prioritising the use of available resources constantly increases, a timely, sound and comprehensive answer to these fundamental questions is more than ever needed to inform public health decision making. Driven by the impact of the Global Burden of Disease study, several researchers and national and international health institutes have adopted the burden of disease approach to address these questions.
The complexity of the burden of disease approach however resulted in major disparities in research capacity across Europe. Furthermore, the current burden of disease landscape remains scattered, and researchers struggle to translate their findings to decision makers. The burden-eu COST Action will address these challenges by acting as a technical platform for integrating and strengthening capacity in burden of disease assessment across Europe and beyond. To achieve this mission, the Action is cooperating with the European Burden of Disease Network of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
DRAGON is an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project which started on 1 October 2020, in the middle of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will run for 3 years. The project is coordinated by the University of Maastricht with Radiomics as the Project Lead. The partners include high-tech, small and medium sized enterprises, academic research institutes, together with the patient centred organisation, European Lung Foundation (ELF) and healthcare professional society, European Respiratory Society (ERS). DRAGON is built on the ambition to increase the capacity of health systems, speed up the pace of research and innovation, and empower citizens during a pandemic. Application of advanced approaches within DRAGON—such as artificial intelligence (AI), decision support tools and molecular profiling—will help to realise these ambitions and are structured as the following four main objectives:
- Deliver scalable diagnostic and prognostic models based on imaging that are more efficient and accurate for supporting medical decision making and resource planning.
- Accelerate new therapy development by adding molecular profiling and AI enhanced analysis to the multi-faceted scalable diagnostic and prognostic models.
- Deploy a federated machine learning system to support fast track innovation by enabling continued data driven improvement while expanding innovation capacity by building a platform to efficiently share and analyse data at scale.
- Engage stakeholders in the development of a patient empowerment centred decision support system that considers the entire patient journey.
ORCHESTRA (Connecting European Cohorts to Increase Common and Effective Response to SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic) involves 26 partners from 15 countries and provides an innovative approach to learn from the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 crisis and derive recommendations for further management of COVID-19 and for possible future pandemics.
The project foresees the creation of a new pan-European cohort built on existing and new large-scale population cohorts in European and non-European countries, including representatives of the general population, COVID-19 patients, special ‘at risk’ populations of fragile individuals and health care workers.
Activities include: (i) the evaluation of predictors of COVID-19 presentation and sequalae by virus variants and immunity function status; (ii) development of evidence-based recommendations for effective management of disease; (iii) identification of markers of disease severity from human (epi)genetic, immunological, microbial, and viral features; (iv) assessment of long-term consequences of COVID-19 (v) study of the immune responses induced by vaccines in different populations (e.g. fragile, HCWs); (vi) study of breakthrough infections (symptomatic and asymptomatic) and re-infections by population, virus variants and type of vaccine.
ReCoDID (‘Reconciliation of Cohort data in Infectious Diseases’) is a 4-year (2019-2022) Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission (EC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The overarching goal of the ReCoDID initiative is to improve the research response to viruses and other pathogens by facilitating data and sample sharing between infectious disease cohort studies and building linkages between data generators and the Open Science community. To achieve this goal, ReCoDID combines best practice in retrospective harmonization and ethical data sharing, long-term investments in federated, cloud-based data sharing platforms, and novel statistical methods to create an integrated, sustainable platform for collaborative research. ReCoDID’s ambition is to facilitate cohorts’ use of their own epidemiological and high-dimensional -omics data while connecting knowledge generators with the Open Science community to accelerate the development of personalized medicine approaches to the identification, prevention, and treatment of (emerging) infectious diseases.
PHIRI (‘the Population Health Information Research Infrastructure for COVID-19’) facilitates research and supports policy making across Europe through the building of the Distributed Infrastructure on Population Health (DIPoH) to be used to overcome future crisis and ensuring the sustainability of the project.
This will be achieved through a close collaboration with 41 partners across 30 countries over a period of 36 months starting in November 2020. The project is divided in 9 ambitious work packages with three transversal topics. PHIRI builds on the achievements of the BRIDGE Health and the Joint Action on Health Information (InfAct) projects.
The intent is to support research across Europe through the identification, access, assessment and reuse of population health and non-health data to underpin public health policy decisions. Within this framework, PHIRI launched the Health Information Portal, a one-stop shop that facilitates access to population health and health care data, information and expertise across Europe.
HERoS (‘Health Emergency Response in Interconnected Systems’) is a Horizon 2020 project whose overall objective is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak by generating actionable knowledge four areas: governance, models in epidemics, medical supply chains, online misinformation.
- Governance. HERoS seeks to understand and model different co-ordination structures and governance arrangements. The goal is to identify bottlenecks; develop procedures for efficient information sharing across countries and hierarchical levels; and to propose policies for improved crisis governance, focusing on responders to public health emergencies.
- Models in epidemics. HERoS models the impact of local policies and human behaviour on the spread of the disease. The aim is to guide public decision making in conditions of deep uncertainty.
- Medical supply chains. HERoS evaluates the impact of cascading effects across global supply chains and provides recommendations to improve management of medical supply chains.
- Online misinformation. HERoS studies the co-spead of online misinformation and fact-checks with the aim of developing a new method to retrieve actionable information from social media in order to detect rumours and misinformation early.