Author:
Tartu Ülikool

New EU project to unlock the potential of genomics for healthcare, research and innovation

On 17 November, European Genomic Data Infrastructure (GDI) project kicked off in Brussels. The 4-year project of €40 million brings together a consortium of partners from 20 European countries and two infrastructure organisations (BBMRI and EMBL) to realise the 1+MG initiative’s ambition.

The 1+MG initiative’s (2018-2027) goal is to enable secure access to genomics and corresponding clinical data across Europe for better research, personalised healthcare and health policymaking. The Beyond 1 Million Genomes (B1MG) project (2020-2023) develops guidelines for implementing the 1+MG initiative and creating blueprints and recommendations for federated networks of genomic data. Building on the preparatory work of 1+MG working groups and the B1MG project, the GDI project starts the scale-up and sustainability phase of the 1+MG initiative.

The GDI project will deploy sustainable and secure infrastructure for a multitude of genomic and related phenotypic and clinical datasets across Europe with the goal of unlocking a data network of over one million human genome sequences for research and clinical reference. This will create unprecedented opportunities for transnational and multi-stakeholder actions in personalised medicine for common, rare and infectious diseases. Authorised data users, such as clinicians, researchers and innovators, will be able to advance their understanding of genomics for more precise and faster clinical decision-making, diagnostics, treatments and predictive medicine and for improved public health measures to benefit European citizens, healthcare systems and the overall economy.

Estonia has committed to becoming operational in the European network by the end of 2026. As part of the GDI, the Ministry of Social Affairs will work on finding long-term solutions for long-term sustainability. The University of Tartu’s Institute of Computer Science and Genomics will deploy the infrastructure considering the use-case and end-user needs. There will be a close collaboration with the Genetics and Personalized Medicine Clinic of Tartu University Hospital, the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre (TEHIK) and the 1+MG National Mirror Group of Estonia.

Serena Scollen, the GDI Project Coordinator and Head of the ELIXIR Human Genomics and Translational Data team, spoke of the importance of having an infrastructure for genomic data by saying that genomes will soon be generated more routinely as part of healthcare. To realise the full promise of genomics and its implementation into healthcare, it is critical to facilitate research and innovation and integrate findings into the clinic and healthcare. “One of the biggest challenges we face is the lack of infrastructure - needed to support the discovery, access, sharing and analysis of human genomics data on a massive scale,” said Scollen. She added that by working together, countries will be able to deploy infrastructure to facilitate secure cross-border data access. Ultimately the benefit will be for the citizens of Europe and, through shared learnings and improved healthcare, citizens globally. 

The new GDI project, coordinated by ELIXIR, is jointly funded by the European Commission under the Digital Europe Programme and through co-funding from participating Member States. In the area of health, the Digital Europe Programme aims to support the creation of elements of the European Health Data Space. More information about the project can be found here

Girls are studying

CHAISE presents blockchain educational material and training platform

Grupipilt

21st Estonian Summer School on Computer and Systems Science

Soome lipp

RECORDING: President of Finland Alexander Stubb gave a speech about world politics and talked to students