Charité develops a ‘Health Data Cloud‘ with EBRAINS to help shape the European Health Data Space
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EBRAINS, the new digital research infrastructure developed by the EU-funded ‘Human Brain Project’, has been included in the 2021 Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). EBRAINS’ goal is to use digital methods and technologies to help translate findings from brain-related research into neuro-inspired technologies and medicine. For the digital research platform, which counts Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin among its members, this marks an important milestone and signals recognition of its enormous scientific potential. A consortium of partners coordinated by Charité has been tasked with developing the ‘Health Data Cloud’, an infrastructure to support services involving sensitive data.
Charité joined EBRAINS as an associate member in June 2021 to help shape the future of the digital research infrastructure. Charité’s contribution, developed in conjunction with the Berlin Institute of Health Charité (BIH), is the brain simulation platform ‘The Virtual Brain’. The platform, now available as a cloud ecosystem on EBRAINS, offers data protection-compliant processes enabling individual brain modeling at multiple scales. The platform runs automated processes to integrate brain imaging data into various models and uses high-performance computing to create computer simulations. “We are delighted at our inclusion in the ESFRI Roadmap, which will ensure that our developments become and remain available to the broader European scientific community,” says Prof. Dr. Petra Ritter, BIH Professor, Head of the Brain Simulation Section at the BIH and Head of Charité’s Department of Neurology with Experimental Neurology.
The first research infrastructure of its kind in the world, EBRAINS forms part of the ‘Human Brain Project‘ which is being led by Forschungszentrum Jülich. Via an online portal, the platform offers access to the most comprehensive human brain database available, as well as access to powerful digital tools for the creation of simulations and the analysis of big data. More than 500 researchers working at more than 130 partner institutions in 19 countries are involved in developing EBRAINS. This approach aims to promote cross-national scientific collaboration and enable world-leading international research.
Charité will coordinate a new EBRAINS infrastructure for sensitive data - the ‘Health Data Cloud‘. The consortium consisting of 9 partners won the ‘EBRAINS Services for Sensitive Data’ call funded with € 1 million.
The ‘Health Data Cloud‘ aims to enable the processing of large quantities of health data – including of complex radiologic images - by maintaining the highest data protection standards. Thus it enables the simulation of digital twins. Underpinning this capability is the Virtual Research Environment (VRE) – a secure and scalable data platform developed by Charité and the BIH as part of the European Open Science Cloud Project ‘Virtual Brain Cloud‘, which enables the storage, sharing and analysis of complex health data sets (such as personalized, multiscale models of the brain) and is compatible with and fully integrated into existing EBRAINS research infrastructure. This ensures compliance with the FAIR guiding principles for data management, making data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.