BioMedIT mission and roadmap

BioMedIT is built for handling sensitive data. Relying on existing expertise and research infrastructure at the partnering institutions, the BioMedIT Network provides comprehensive state-of-the-art data and computing services to researchers of Swiss universities, hospitals and other research institutions.

The overarching goal of BioMedIT is to provide researchers with a fully-managed infrastructure platform for sensitive research data. 

The platform is based on modern large-scale computing advances and makes state-of-the-art data analysis tools accessible to the Swiss research community. The project administration of collaborative research projects on a national scale will be further shifted from the individual BioMedIT nodes to the BioMedIT Portal, further increasing harmonization and automation level. The federated compute and storage resources provided by the BioMedIT nodes will be presented as one cloud resource to their users, with a central access and project management point (the BioMedIT Portal), a unified access method across all cloud sites (using SWITCH edu-ID) and a simple and swift project setup across the federation.

Goal: Establishment and operation of a structured service management framework, harmonized across the federated BioMedIT nodes, efficiently provisioning the central BioMedIT services on a national level. In addition, high-quality user support is granted to projects running on BioMedIT nodes, with regards to operational and technical needs.

Professional Service Management: Service development and provisioning, information security management as well as incident and problem management are done professionally, both on the node and on the central layer, using a professional framework (such as FitSM).

High Quality User Support: Service desk, operational support for BioMedIT central services, operational and technical support from the nodes. Data-provider and project onboarding support, data transfer support, escalation management, etc. are performed professionally and well-coordinated between the nodes and the central layer.

High Quality Documentation: Work instructions, standard operating procedures (SOP), technical reference documents, guidelines, fact-sheets and checklists are provided by the central layer and always kept up-to-date to make BioMedIT as user-friendly as possible. Technical and security documentation as well as documentation for node-specific processes is provided by the nodes/BIWG and coordinated centrally.

Goal: Provision and further improvement of the technical infrastructure of the BioMedIT Network (on the level of the BioMedIT nodes, the BioMedIT triangle, the BioMedIT central services and the connection to outside partners) to securely transfer, manage, store and process confidential research data.

Consolidation and further development of the established secure infrastructures within the BioMedIT Network with following priorities:

Secure research environment as a Service: Users are provided a flexible compute/data platform, configured to meet the researcher’s computational needs, and connected with all relevant data providers in Switzerland. The platform consists of state-of-the-art hardware as well as software services and analysis tools allowing researchers to independently manage their projects and carry out their scientific tasks. Users are provided fully established interoperable software solutions and workflow systems that can be directly used and applied to their data.

Advanced security management: The provided platform complies with regulatory, information security requirements (security by design).

Goal: As a result of the scientific IT services of BioMedIT and the collaborative research possibilities, researchers are able to efficiently manage their research data, integrate different data types, and run their analysis workflows. In addition, the BioMedIT Network fosters privacy preserving computation methods as well as federated compute solution, bringing the analysis to the data (“Distributed Secure Scientific Platform as a Service”).

Active Data Management: BioMedIT offers active data management support during the life-time of projects as part of the standard services, in accordance with the SPHN interoperability framework. Beyond the standard services, BioMedIT also offers specific support regarding the Semantic Web Technology, as well as project support with regard to the amendment of the data model according to project needs.

Enabling Data Analysis: BioMedIT offers a defined portfolio for data analysis workflows and analysis tools. Specific research analysis support is not part of the core mandate of BioMedIT, however, it can be offered by the node institutions or in close collaboration with the planned PHRT services.

Privacy by design: BioMedIT invests in technical and scientific/methodological approaches in novel federated computation technologies, ML and AI ecosystem, privacy preserving computational approaches, etc. BioMedIT offers possibilities to explore and visit sensitive datasets on BioMedIT without disclosing the content of the data.

Involvement in international collaborations in the area of privacy preserving computation (e.g., Personal Health Train, ELIXIR, EOSC, 1+MG, GA4GH, etc.).

Goal: BioMedIT is established as the location where FAIR research data of different origins are stored and made findable, accessible and re-usable. In addition, secure access to a variety of biological databases for research analyses is provided.

The interoperability efforts of the SPHN DCC ensure semantic and technical interoperability for the majority of data types and for the most commonly used variables.

A Swiss-wide metadata catalogue allows Swiss-wide search for FAIR data to be reused in research projects.

Data as a Service: BioMedIT offers a service for a FAIR full data lifecycle management, also consisting of:

Secure, long-term Data Repositories: BioMedIT maintains the long-term storage of various repositories of sensitive data (e.g. genomics and other omics data, imaging data), as well as data sets from SPHN and PHRT projects for the re-use by third parties.

Data Catalogue: Users can search for available data pools, data sets and reference data sets that are essential to data-driven biomedical and Personalized Health research. This is achieved by offering an easy-to-use data catalogue where all data from the Swiss biomedical projects are findable.