HealthyCloud project unveils its roadmap to maximise the impact of health data and research across Europe

27 October 2023
The EU-funded HealthyCloud project leveraged the Conference on Personalised Medicine, hosted by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for establishing a European Health Research and Innovation Cloud that will contribute to breaking down barriers to the borderless sharing of health-related data for research purposes across Europe
On 6 October 2023, the HealthyCloud project, an EU Coordinated and Support Action, held its final event and presented its visionary and inclusive Strategic Agenda that sets the elements for establishing a European Health Research and Innovation Cloud (HRIC) that will facilitate access and sharing of health-related data services for researchers. This final event was held as a satellite event within the framework of the Conference on Personalised Medicine. The project was also presented in the session on ‘Data ecosystems that enable personalised medicine’ on 5 October 2023.

The Strategic Agenda incorporates the expert feedback of diverse stakeholders who advised on the integration of existing and future systems to handle the health data of millions of citizens and to make this data available for research purposes. It also builds on the sustainable use of European computational capacities, including High-Performance Computing, to provide guidelines for enabling data access, sharing, and secondary use of health data to support research for enhanced diagnosis and treatment. Indeed, this Agenda directly works towards the priorities identified in the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2021-2024 on the topic of Personalised Medicine and Personalised Healthcare.

Five key services are proposed for the European Health Research and Innovation Cloud:

  • a monitoring service;
  • a legal/regulatory guidance service;
  • a metadata standards and data interoperability guidance service;
  • a health research community interface with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)
  • a health research community interface with the European Health Data Space (EHDS), specifically the HealthData@EU
Two phases are envisioned to further develop the HRIC: A ‘Development and Pilot’ phase for the technical implementation of the proposed services and a ‘Maintenance and Sustainability’ phase to be undertaken in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including key EOSC and EHDS actors, and potential European and national funders.

At the ‘HealthyCloud Final Event’, Juan Gonzalez, Biocomputing Unit Manager at the Aragon Health Institute of Sciences and co-coordinator of the HealthyCloud project emphasised: "The HRIC is unparalleled in its inclusivity of stakeholders and the alignment of existing knowledge and expertise in health data. It will play a fundamental role in the European Health Data Space".

Salvador Capella, Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB) Coordination Node team Manager at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center—Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), and co-coordinator of the project conveyed: "The HRIC is driving the adoption of mechanisms for the sustainable use of European capabilities on computational systems, in collaboration with Research Infrastructures. This ecosystem is critical for enabling health data research at the European scale following Open Science principles".

The main conference on Personalised Medicine was organised by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), and the Centre for the Development of Technology and Innovation (CDTI).