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Project between Europe and Canada wants to improve the quality of healthcare

EUCAN-Connect intends to develop an infrastructure to assist in the definition of personalised healthcare, and treatment and prevention policies, based on cohort data analysis (studies that aggregate sets of individuals who share common characteristics) developed between Europe and Canada.

07th August 2019

The rapid development in both information systems and biotechnology areas seems to ensure more effective strategies for personalised healthcare through biological, environmental and molecular profiles of each individual. In order to capitalise on this possibility, the main challenge is to connect these profiles with health and disease information, considering the great diversity that exist among individuals, populations and environments. In addition, repositories with cohort data are currently scattered, difficult to research and integrate, and are also subject to protection policies and data management, which discourages the centralisation of this type of information.

In order to address these challenges, EUCAN-Connect will allow the creation of an open and scalable data platform for cohorts, directed to researchers and research networks, incorporating the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and ELSI (Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications) principles for the development of technologies through the use of locally stored confidential data and proceeding only to the integration and sharing of the results.

The idea of the project is to provide innovative and low-cost solutions for data collection and preservation, privacy protection, development of open source bioinformatics tools, thus supporting worldwide governance models.

The project team is composed of researchers from the Centre for Information and Computer Graphics Systems (CSIG) Artur Rocha, José Pedro Ornelas, Gonçalo Gonçalves and Ademar Aguiar. This platform and the corresponding collaborations are coordinated through Biobanks and Biomolecular resources Research Infrastructure, European Research Infrastructure Consortium (Austria) and Maelstrom Research – The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (Canada).

The other partners of the EUCAN-Connect project are: University Medical Center Groningen (the Netherlands, Coordinator); MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge (the United Kingdom); Newcastle University (the United Kingdom); Erasmus Medical Center (the Netherlands); Copenhagen University (Denmark); Epigeny (France); Barcelona Institute for Global Health (Spain); University of Oulu (Finland); Stichting VUMC (the Netherlands); e the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (Portugal).

EUCAN-Connect (GA 824989) is a project funded by Horizon 2020’s research and innovation programme, which will last for five years and will have and overall budget of EUR 6 million for all partners.


The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FEUP.