A European Open Science Cloud (EOSC-Life) call for projects sharing data, tools and workflows concerning sensitive data in the cloud

Purpose of the call

Recent advances in research technology have led to a vast increase in data volumes produced by life science research. These datasets, many arising from large-scale screening projects, are beyond what can be handled, shared and analysed using classical tools and often contain treasure troves of data beyond what was analysed in the initial project. Making available data, tools and workflows in the cloud is therefore necessary in order to use the data produced to the fullest extent, both within and beyond the original intended scope of individual projects.

The purpose of this Digital Life Sciences Internal Call is to support projects tackling the challenges of open science research using sensitive data. Projects should contribute to the long-term aims of developing an open digital space for data and tools in the life sciences. The overarching goal of the project is to begin to populate EOSC with tools, data and workflows of use and impact to our life science communities. For full details of eligible projects, see Applicant Guidelines.

Background

The European project EOSC-Life creates an open, digital and collaborative space for life science research. This space will comprise data, tools and computational resources together with supporting policies and services. At the heart of the project are the 13 Life Science Research Infrastructures that provide services  across domains, spanning  areas ranging from structural biology to imaging and through to clinical trials (https://www.eosc-life.eu/about/about-european-ris/).

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that Research Infrastructures have provided a route for scientific users to contribute datasets, tools and workflows into the cloud, supported by training and providing access to technical consultations with Research Infrastructure data experts and tools developers. To learn more about the data and tools already made available via EOSC-Life, please visit https://www.eosc-life.eu/services/demonstrators/.

What is available?

Applicants can request funding up to 60,000-70,000 EUR per project for personnel costs to carry out the project. Co-funding of projects with own resources or in-kind contributions are possible. In case of co-funding or in-kind contributions, information should be provided in the budget section of the proposal to allow reviewers to assess the feasibility of the proposal.

Successful applicants can also expect training and expert advice from within the EOSC-Life consortium, to enable the delivery of complex cloud-connected life science research projects. Within the Call application phase we offer the necessary ‘match-making’ to connect applicants with EOSC-Life experts, who will provide consultation regarding technical feasibility and best practice.

Projects can have a maximum duration of 12 months and need to be able to start shortly after notice of award. Projects must end by the end of December 2022.

For details on the required reporting of successfully funded projects, please consult the reporting guidelines.

What kind of projects are we looking for?

Applications are invited from EOSC-Life partners (beneficiaries and third parties explicitly named in the Grant Agreement) working on research projects within one or more of the following life science domains:

  1. Biobanking
  2. Bioinformatics
  3. Chemical biology
  4. Clinical research
  5. Functional genomics
  6. Biological and biomedical Imaging
  7. Marine organisms
  8. Microbial resources
  9. Pathogenic microorganisms
  10. Plant phenotyping
  11. Structural biology
  12. Systems biology
  13. Translational medicine

The project must present a life-science use-case, and contribute to and/or take advantage of cloud-based data and analysis. The objective of this Internal Call is to make data and/or workflows available to the EOSC and the scientific community. Data and workflows should be available at the point of application and should not be generated from scratch.

Proposals should align with the goals of EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) – ie. enabling data sharing for the purpose of furthering scientific research. The project’s overarching aim is to make life science research data publicly available in a FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) way in the EOSC. For information on FAIR data, see https://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles/

Proposals should fit with one or more of the following themes:

  • Data curation, handling and integration for publishing into the cloud
  • Tool interoperability, workflows and containerisation
  • Cloud deployment and resources

We are looking for proposals offering solutions for the management of sensitive data and/or sharing workflows and tools specifically designed to deal with sensitive data. Sensitivity of the data may arise from its personal nature (personal data in the sense of the GDPR, e.g. health data, biological samples and associated personal data, genetic data, individual research data, etc.), but can also be caused by biohazard concerns (e.g. Dual Use Research of Concern) or application of the Nagoya protocol.

Only projects falling into one (or more) of these categories will be eligible:

  • Projects involving sensitive data from/about humans:
    • projects using anonymised datasets
    • projects using substitute synthetic representations of sensitive datasets
    • projects having the legal and ethical framework in place for the processing of sensitive personal data in the sense of the GDPR
  • Projects involving non-human sensitive data

For any sensitive datasets to be used, applicants must demonstrate that they have already arranged access to the dataset(s) prior to submission. If using anonymised or pseudonymised datasets, data needs to already be anonymised/pseudonymised at the point of application. Finally, the applicant must have considered the legal and ethical framework necessary to carry out their project as obtaining the legal and ethical approval for a project falls into the applicant’s responsibility. For full details of eligible projects, see Applicant Guidelines .

Proposals in one or more of the following categories would be in scope:

  • Development of workflows and toolboxes for data preprocessing, sharing and searching
  • Cloud-compatible solutions for collection, processing, standardisation, FAIRification, and storage of existing data of different varieties, for example in microbiology, pathology, chemoinformatics, drugs and clinical data, via EOSC
  • Algorithmic approaches to generating data sets within the life sciences
  • Integration of existing data sets and repositories across life science fields or within individual research communities
  • Migration of existing workflows into the cloud, adapting these to FAIR data standards and integrating multiple workflows
  • Metadata generation and use, including automation projects

Not in scope are projects aiming to generate new data sets, development of entire new workflows or software solutions, projects only involving data curation, projects without scientific use cases or those developing cloud tools without open access.

For examples of the kind of projects we have supported, please take a look at the pilot projects already completed within EOSC-Life: https://www.eosc-life.eu/services/demonstrators/.

How to apply

Please note that only EOSC-Life partners (beneficiaries and third parties explicitly named in the Grant Agreement) are eligible to apply. View our list of eligible beneficiaries and linked third parties.

Before submission of the proposal, you will need to make contact with one of our EOSC-Life experts from WP1, 2, 4 and/or 7 to discuss your project. This step of the process is mandatory. If the applicant her-/himself is a member of a work package addressed in the proposal (1/2/4/7), a different technical expert will be assigned during this maturation phase. The maturation phase shall provide additional expert advice and ensure that it is aligned with the goals of the EOSC-Life project. The completion of this short questionnaire will help us assign the right expert to your proposal.

You must have made first contact with the relevant experts to set up an appointment to discuss your proposal before the consultation deadline 5 pm CEST on 28 July 2021. 

Consultations can be carried out throughout the time that the call remains open. However, we strongly urge you to schedule and conclude your expert consultation early to ensure that all questions regarding your proposal can be properly addressed. Our technical experts reserve the right to offer only limited consultation in the final two weeks prior to submission if the number of consultation requests exceeds capacity. Once you have concluded the consultation with our experts, your proposal can then be submitted via the ARIA platform until 5 pm CEST on 29 September 2021.

Proposals will first be assessed on technical feasibility and maturity by experts within the EOSC-Life consortium. They will then be subject to a scientific excellence and impact assessment performed by external experts.

For full details on the application process and eligibility, please see our Applicant Guidelines.

Supporting Documents and Links

(Note: These links will bring you to ARIA on the Instruct-ERIC website, where you also will submit your application.)

Looking for the Internal Call for Academia-Industry Collaborations? Find it here.