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HealthyCloud experts meet EU Commission policy-makers to discuss the future Health Research and Innovation Cloud

Date: January 23, 2023

HealthyCloud’s hybrid event, hosted in Brussels on 23 November, is seizing the opportunity to unite researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders to openly discuss the future of the Health Research and Innovation Cloud (HRIC) and to address key challenges identified by the EC: quality accessible and (re)useable health data to improve research, policymaking, regulation and innovation. HealthyCloud researchers shared the first draft of their Strategic Agenda of a Health Research and Innovation Cloud.

A conversation between policymakers and researchers

Stakeholders attending this interactive workshop added their voices to the vision of the European Health Data Sharing landscape for research and discussed the first version of the draft Strategic Agenda. Three perspectives guided the workshop:

Researcher’s point of view, led by legal expert, Ricard Martínez from the University of Valencia, Marialuisa Lavitrano, board member of the European Open Science Cloud Association (entity in charge of governing the EOSC) and Roselien Pas, Data Protection Manager at the Belgian Cancer Registry.

Download or watch the presentations :

HealthyCloud view, led by project leaders who will reveal aspects of their draft Strategic Agenda. Steve Canham, researcher at the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN), will present an overview of the future HealthyCloud Strategic Agenda.

Download or watch the presentation:

The debate on the future HRIC

Through its commitment to the European Health Data Space (EHDS) and European Data Strategy, the EC is seeking to unleash the full potential of health data by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by cloud infrastructures and high-performance computing for creating sustainable and better public health systems across Europe. With the European data economy expected to grow to 829 billion € by 2025 and intended EU investment of 4-6 billion € for Europe’s digital future, now is the time to talk about health data for research, to guarantee that it is findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (FAIR) and to ensure that users are prepared to generate, gather and analyse data.

The first draft of the Strategic Agenda, which was discussed at the event, seeks to integrate the future HRIC with systems that are already available (e.g., within the European Open Science Cloud or EHDS). The Strategic Agenda developed by the HealthyCloud consortium also explores potential services that the future HRIC could offer, including a European Open Science catalogue service and a research community interface service between HealthData@EU and the general public, amongst others.

Dr Salvador Capella, Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB)/ELIXIR-ES, Coordination team Group Leader at Barcelona Supercomputing and HealthyCloud co-coordinator, highlights that:

‘In this era of first pre-exascale supercomputing centers in Europe, we must overcome technical challenges to provide guidelines, recommendations and experience. This workshop gives these stakeholders the opportunity to give their views on the future of data access, interoperability and infrastructures’

This workshop discussed the challenges and opportunities for health data and infrastructures to improve their translation into innovative health care in the era of the EHDS and the European Open Science Cloud. Dr Juan González, co-coordinator of HealthyCloud and Bio-Computing Unit manager at Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud, believes that:

‘Exchanging views with DGs will help to ensure a proper alignment of the HRIC in the European data sharing ecosystem that will facilitate the daily work of researchers, improve the depth and quality of existing research, and enable new studies that are currently not feasible’

The cross-sectoral perspectives offered in the workshop will ensure that the views of many stakeholders are heard and will contribute to the quality and sustainability of health data for research across Europe.