Project results are expected to contribute to all the following expected outcomes:
- European researchers and public health actors fighting the spread of infectious diseases, e.g. COVID-19 and emerging infectious diseases are able to store, share, access, analyse, process and cite research and clinical data and other research digital objects across disciplines and national borders and to collaborate with global partners;
- federation of viral and human infectious disease data from national and international centres enables pan-European and global sharing and combination of research and clinical data, thereby catalysing and accelerating research advances to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future outbreaks;
- development of digital tools and data analytics for pandemic and outbreak preparedness, including tracking genomic variations of SARS-CoV-2, linking genomic and clinical data to support timely identification of variants of concern, and subsequent rapid characterisation of such strains to inform public health action;
- linking of FAIR data and metadata on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, on other related viruses and diseases, and on socio-economic consequences, across research fields, from omics, clinical, and epidemiological research, to Social Sciences and Humanities accelerate infectious disease research, surveillance and outbreak investigation;
- contribute to the Horizon Europe European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Partnership and to the development of the European Health Data Space (EHDS).
This action responds to the need to enable researchers, health care professionals and society at large to share, access, analyse, link and process research data and other research digital objects across disciplines and national borders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As seen with other infectious disease outbreaks, such as haemorrhagic fevers, COVID-19 will likely remain a societal challenge beyond the immediate outbreak, considering its destructive and disruptive impact on healthcare systems and the economy. In addition to the ongoing health threat from SARS-CoV-2, the risk from other emerging pathogens also persists, which will also require similar concerted action to identify and characterise infections with pandemic potential, and enable rapid public health action to mitigate health and societal impact. Provision of comprehensive open data on infectious agents and diseases during outbreaks support evidence-based quality assessment – across scientific, medical, public health and policy domains and promotes reproducibility of research outcomes. Particular importance should be placed on mobilising raw viral sequences and identifying and monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants. European readiness for future pandemics is of utmost importance and should be addressed to ensure the preparedness of infrastructure building on already existing frameworks for broader use such as the EOSC.
Proposals should set out a credible pathway to contributing to one or several of the following impacts:
- transforming the way researchers as well as relevant actors in the public and private sectors create, share and exploit research outputs (data, publications, protocols, methodologies, software, code, etc.) within and across research disciplines, and with the public health sector, leading to improved timeliness, better quality, more innovation, higher productivity of research and a better integration between research outputs and public health policy;
- seamless access to and management of increasing volumes of research data following FAIR principles (and that are as open as possible, as closed as necessary) and other research outputs stimulating the development and uptake of a wide range of new innovative and value-added services from public and commercial providers;
- improving trust in science through increased FAIRness, openness and quality of scientific research in Europe, supported by more meaningful monitoring and better facilitators for reproducibility, validation and re-use of research results, and by improving pathways for the communication of science to the public.
20 May 2021