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.
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.
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.
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.
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.