The Genomic Data Infrastructure (GDI) project brings together national agencies, research organisations, and technology providers from 20 European countries to facilitate a cross-border federated network of national genome collections for biomedical research and personalised medicine solutions. The aim of this €40 million Digital Europe project, coordinated by ELIXIR, is to realise the 1+MG initiative’s ambition to enable secure access to genomics and corresponding clinical data across Europe by creating data infrastructure.
Building on the preparatory work of 1+MG initiative working groups and the Beyond 1 Million Genomes (B1MG) project, the GDI project brings 20 EU Member States together with two infrastructure organisations (BBMRI and EMBL) to work collectively to support the 1+MG Initiative's vision to facilitate better healthcare for citizens in Europe by providing cross-border access to at least one million genomes and related clinical data.
Specifically, GDI will drive the development, deployment and operation of sustainable data-access infrastructures within each participating country including the legal frameworks and operational procedures. It will unlock a data network of over one million 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 understanding of genomics for more precise and faster clinical decision-making, diagnostics, treatments and predictive medicine, and for improved public health measures.
The GDI project is structured into three pillars:
Pillar I: Long-term sustainability
Pillar II: Infrastructure deployment
Pillar III: Use cases
VIB/ELIXIR Belgium and Sciensano are involved in Pillar I (Long-term sustainability, work package 2) bringing together country representatives to agree on a long-term governance model, a legal framework and a business model for the infrastructure.
VIB/ELIXIR Belgium and Sciensano are also contributing to Pillar II (Infrastructure deployment), by rolling out the federated infrastructure in Belgium and making this useful for research and diagnostics. Pillar II comprises several work packages in which our Node is involved. Work package 3 supports national nodes as they progress sequentially through the three-stage maturity assessment - onboarding, deployment, to operational status, supported by work package 5 (technical coordination and outreach) and existing operational nodes. Work package 4 handles European level operations to ensure interoperability within national nodes. Work package 6 provides the data management plans for onboarding of 1+MG genomic datasets and technical implementation of data governance.
Pillar III (Use cases) guides the implementation of the project through key use cases (for example the Genome of Europe, cancer data and infectious disease data). From Belgium, IMEC is contributing to pillar III with their expertise in machine learning, and Sciensano in the cancer use case.
Governing Board members for Belgium are Kathleen D’Hondt (EWI) and Marc Van Den Bulcke (Sciensano).