New EU project looks to unlock the potential of genomics

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The European Genomic Data Infrastructure (GDI) project kicked off today in Brussels, Belgium. 

The new €40 million ($41.4 million) GDI project, coordinated by ELIXIR, is jointly funded by the European Commission under the Digital Europe Programme and through co-funding from participating Member States. In the area of health, the Digital Europe Programme aims to support the creation of elements of the European Health Data Space. 

The aim of the project is to realize the 1+MG initiative’s ambition to enable secure access to genomics and corresponding clinical data across Europe by creating data infrastructure. The project involves a consortium of partners from 20 European countries and will facilitate a cross-border federated network of national genome collections for biomedical research and personalised medicine solutions.

The 1+MG initiative aims to enable secure access to genomics and corresponding clinical data across Europe for better research, personalized healthcare and health policymaking. The Beyond 1 Million Genomes (B1MG) project that started in 2020, funded by H2020, develops guidelines for implementing the 1+MG Initiative and creating blueprints and recommendations for creating federated networks of genomic data.

Better healthcare

Building on the preparatory work of 1+MG working groups and the B1MG project, the GDI project brings 20 EU Member States together with two infrastructure organizations (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.

The GDI project aims to unlock a data network of more than one million genome sequences for research and clinical reference. This will create opportunities for transnational and multi-stakeholder actions in personalized medicine for common, rare and infectious diseases. Authorized 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 to benefit European citizens, healthcare systems and the overall economy.

Routine part of healthcare

Serena Scollen, GDI project coordinator and head of ELIXIR Human Genomics and Translational Data team, said: “Genomes will soon be generated more routinely as part of healthcare. To realize the full promise of genomics and its implementation into healthcare, it is critical to facilitate research and innovation and integrate findings into the clinic and healthcare. 

“One of the biggest challenges we face is the lack of infrastructure – needed to support the discovery, access, sharing and analysis of human genomics data on a massive scale. By working together, countries will be able to deploy infrastructure to facilitate secure cross-border data access. Ultimately, the benefit will be for the citizens of Europe and through shared learnings and improved healthcare, citizens globally.”

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