Published November 8, 2023 | Version v1
Report Open

TRE-FX Public Involvement and Engagement Final Report

  • 1. ROR icon University of Dundee
  • 2. ROR icon University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • 3. Alterline
  • 4. ROR icon University of Nottingham
  • 5. ROR icon University of Manchester


Project member:

  • 1. ROR icon University of Nottingham


Trusted Research Environments (TREs) are secure locations in which data are placed for researchers to analyse but the data can not be exported. Only data analysis can be exported, such as a graph or a results table. TREs can be set up to host many different data types such as administrative data, education data or hospital data. TREs work well when providing data from a single source, but it can be hard for a researcher to perform analysis across multiple TREs, this is especially true when data is to be analysed across geographical or governance boundaries, such as the devolved nature of healthcare in the United Kingdom. 

The ability to perform analyses across multiple TREs is possible today, but there are multiple ways this can be achieved which makes it hard for any single solution to become a standard and to be accepted by multiple TREs. Many standards do also exist, but what is lacking is the adoption of a single set of standards to make the process much simpler. 

TRE-FX assembled leading infrastructure researchers, technology providers (academic and commercial) and leading providers of TREs. The purpose was to demonstrate how existing tools and technology could be brought together to deliver a standardised mechanism for analyses to be performed between TREs. We collaborated with an on-premise TRE and two cloud based TREs, enhancing technologies already developed by ELIXIR and HDR UK to demonstrate that this can be achieved without compromising the five safe principles and can be delivered in line with all security and governance controls of the TREs. Our two technology partners were important in order to demonstrate that the new standardised processes were also able to be adopted by their existing approaches. By doing so, evidenced the acceptability of the approach for those running TREs and the suitability of the approach for existing suppliers of federated platforms.

 Of paramount importance was to do this with the public involved, we had a member of the public chair our project meetings and held focus groups to ensure feedback was gained from the publics.

This report outlines and evaluates the Public Involvement and Engagement work that was conducted. 


TRE-FX PIE Final Report.pdf

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