Data4lifesciences: an innovative research data infrastructure at, for, by and between the UMCs and their partners.

Biomedical research concentrates increasingly around the individual patient. By means of ‘personalised medicine’, attempts are being made to tailor methods to the individual patient in order to ensure that he or she receives the best possible treatment. Therefore, also large cohorts are studied, for example to investigate life style consequences, and these cohorts can only be compiled through (international) collaboration. The technological revolution in genetics and imaging, among other areas, have made this possible but have, at the same time, resulted in an explosive growth in research data that are extremely complex. In addition to this increase, researchers also have stricter requirements in terms of quality, management and sharing of the data. Research data must be collected, stored, processed, analysed and archived and shared with others. This applies to tools and guidelines for use and reuse of data, but also for privacy protection.

The high quality infrastructure needed to meet these data-related requirements exceeds the capabilities of individual investigators and, increasingly, also those of individual university medical centres (UMCs). This is why the UMCs have opted for a joint approach: the infrastructure programme Data4lifesciences.

Interview with program manager Jan-Willem Boiten (newsletter 1, November 2015)