Symposium: Distributed Networks of Federated Secure Research Data Environments – Enabling Analytics Across Multiple Platforms

Main Article Content

Matthias Schneider


Users of linked data require access to an increasing number of heterogeneous datasets from diverse domains, often held in different secure research data environments, especially for multi-jurisdictional projects. Under the traditional model of data access, projects are required to transfer and harmonise the necessary datasets in one central location before analysis can be undertaken, increasing the time required for data acquisition and preparation.

Objectives and Approach
In a federated data environment, analysts query distributed datasets held in a network of multiple secure data environments via a central virtual database, without requiring the data to move. Instead, the data is analysed as close as possible to its storage location, minimising the amount of data transfers and giving data custodians more control over their data.

This symposium explores the challenges and opportunities of establishing and operating a distributed network of federated secure research data environments. Leading organisations operating data platforms in various jurisdictions present for 15 minutes each the current capabilities of their platforms, the landscape of data environments in their jurisdictions and potential approaches to key questions such as:

  • Harmonising/federating data sources

  • Data security

  • Data governance

  • Discoverability/metadata

  • Performance

The audience is the then invited to participate in discussing the topic for the remaining 30 minutes.

The following individuals have been approached to represent their organisations in this symposium:

  • Professor David Ford, Swansea University: UK Secure eResearch Platform (UK SErP)

  • Charles Victor, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES): ICES Data & Analytic Virtual Environment (IDAVE)

  • Professor Louisa Jorm, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, University of New South Wales: E-Research Institutional Cloud Architecture (ERICA)

  • Professor Kimberlyn McGrail, Population Data BC: Secure Research Environment (SRE)

Results / Conclusion / Implications
This symposium will help formulate requirements for and barriers to distributed networks of federated secure research data environments, and create a foundation for data analytics across multiple platforms.

Article Details

How to Cite
Schneider, M. (2020) “Symposium: Distributed Networks of Federated Secure Research Data Environments – Enabling Analytics Across Multiple Platforms”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1600.