GHGA joined European life sciences data infrastructure’s gathering in Dublin

ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for life science data, held its 2023 annual meeting in Dublin. A delegation from GHGA joined the four day, surprisingly sunny, meeting in early June. 

Looking back at the last 5 years, ELIXIR reviewed the progress made as well as its plans for the future, introducing the goals of the new programme (2024-28). Recurring themes were, among others, science, technology, people, and nodes in member countries! It was discussed how to empower scientists to access and analyse life science data and thereby improve the capacity to benefit science and society. Another highlight topic was ‘sustainability’ - enabling local nodes for long-term success and connecting local projects across borders to learn from one another. On a more technical side, discussions arose around establishing federated tools (such as GA4GH standard beacon and LifeScience AAI) to use and create infrastructure to make best use of existing data.

Showcasing GHGA at the meeting, we presented two posters: one overview on the mission and resources of GHGA, and one covering our metadata model. 

On the second day, GHGA member Anandhi Iyappan was part of the panel discussion in a workshop centred on services for sensitive data discovery and access within the federated EGA. After a demonstration of different data access journeys from the Norwegian and Finnish node, including data download and trusted research environments (TREs), the panel discussed issues such as: How may data be shared across Europe if each country handles its own data privacy? How do we know what data is exported from a TRE and whether it is sensitive? How do we combine data that is available in different national TREs? How can processes at different nodes be standardised to allow findability?  

Given the presence of our training workstream at the meeting, we explored new ways of collaborating on training materials and courses. We discussed ongoing collaborations with de.NBI leading to joint webinars later this year and explored new options such as the ELIXIR training platform TeSS or resources from Bioconductor.

GHGA is connected to ELIXIR via its participation in the federated EGA and the GDI project. The ELIXIR Germany node, however, is de.NBI. Connecting with the large de.NBI delegation at the All Hands meeting, we deepened our ties between the two consortia. 

We had a great time at the ELIXIR All Hands meeting, learning about the plentiful and different projects and making new connections, both within ELIXIR and beyond with representatives of GA4GH.