Cascadia Data Alliance

Data Science Collaborations

The opportunity: The Cascadia region of North America is home to some of the world’s leading technology, research, and medical organizations. Large amounts of biomedical research data are being generated in this geographical area that could be used to support accelerated research if shared effectively. Development of a robust regional data sharing ecosystem has the potential to position the Pacific Northwest as a global leader in data-driven innovation in biomedical research and healthcare, now and into the future. 

Cascadia Data Alliance logo

The challenge: cultural, technical and policy barriers have historically limited cross-organizational data sharing.

The Cascadia Data Alliance will change that.

The Hutch Data Commonwealth’s goal in spearheading the Cascadia Data Alliance is to establish a health research data sharing ecosystem with organizations across the Pacific Northwest region. The Alliance will facilitate creation of shared best practices in data governance and groundbreaking partnerships. Improved governance and collaboration will be used to drive towards improvements in data sharing to accelerate research and innovation across the community.

Cascadia Region of North America
Cascadia Region of North America

The Cascadia Data Discovery Initiative (CDDI)

The Cascadia Data Discovery Initiative (CDDI) is a first step toward achieving a regional data sharing ecosystem. CDDI aims to accelerate data discovery and subsequent data sharing for biomedical research.

Data Discovery

CDDI will enable sharing of metadata (descriptive information about underlying data) to facilitate data discovery so researchers can find interesting and unique datasets more quickly.

Data Sharing

CDDI will collect and curate standardized data use agreements being developed by national and international groups. CDDI will also establish tailored, easy-to-use data use documentation to accelerate sharing of underlying data between researchers at CDDI-participating organizations.

How CDDI Works

Graphic for How the Cascadia Data Discovery Platform works

To achieve the goals of driving data discovery and sharing, CDDI will establish tools that allow researchers to query metadata and find datasets and resources relevant to their research. When a researcher finds a dataset or resource they would like to learn more about, they will be able to connect to the researcher who uploaded the associated metadata to learn more. The researchers could then use Cascadia data use documentation (e.g. data use agreement templates) to facilitate data sharing and collaboration.

CDDI Participating Institutions


Preserving Privacy to Enable Data Access

Cascadia is also working to test methods that enhance sharing of data that contains oftentimes sensitive information in a way that provides strong privacy preservation. Cascadia partners including UBC, BC Cancer, and Microsoft are working together to develop and demonstrate technology solutions that both preserve privacy and facilitate meaningful analysis of health research data.

Wanted: Collaborative partners (organizations or individuals)

We are looking for collaborators to:

  • Contribute metadata to enable data discovery. We are particularly interested in extracting metadata from genomics, biospecimen, imaging, and other cancer data sets.
  • Contribute to user testing of new data discovery or data sharing tools.


  • Access to the Cascadia data discovery search tool to find interesting or unique datasets
  • Closer ties to regional collaborators with complementary skills and expertise (and access to their broader networks)
  • Reduction in red tape to accelerate data sharing
  • Improved ability to access data for preliminary analysis to support grant applications (e.g. CIHR or NIH grant)
  • Stronger open data ecosystem in the Cascadia region and beyond

Cascadia Data Alliance Leadership

Brenda Kostelecky, Ph.D.

Director, Cascadia Data Alliance Program

Brenda is a scientific program director experienced in developing and implementing innovative and strategic programs to advance research and discovery. She has several years’ experience leading successful cross-organizational initiatives at the National Cancer Institute and American Association for Cancer Research. She has a scientific background in molecular biology, structural biology and cancer biology research.