Published December 29, 2020 | Version 1.0
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Strategy brief on harmonisation and integration methods, and analytic approaches to maximise the value of cohort data

  • 1. SPF
  • 2. PSSJD




  • 1. SPF
  • 2. ISGlobal


SYNCHROS is an EU Horizon 2020 project that aims to identify the methodological, practical, legal and ethical barriers and opportunities in cohort research. The main aim of SYNCHROS is to formulate a sustainable European strategy for the next generation of integrated cohorts. In this context, SYNCHROS is characterised as a coordination and support action project. Namely, the SYNCHROS project contributes to an international strategic agenda for enhanced coordination of cohorts globally. In particular, SYNCHROS addresses the practical, ethical, legal, and methodological challenges in optimising the exploitation of current and future cohort data. In so doing, SYNCHROS supports developments for a stratified and personalised medicine approach and facilitates health policy.

The present strategy brief is related to the methodological domain of the SYNCHROS project. Namely, we aim to identify the methodological problems faced by cohort researchers as well as provide solutions and recommendations for research practice.

The strategy brief (alternatively evidence brief or policy brief) is an internationally-recognized strategic tool of modern implementation science – which itself has developed from evidence-based medicine and knowledge-transfer methodologies to become the foundation for promoting the adoption and integration of practices and policies for individual clinical care, public health and health research.

SYNCHROS is a coordination and support action with the overall objective of addressing the practical, ethical and legal, and methodological challenges to optimising the exploitation of current and future cohort study data. Because of this aim, it is essential that SYNCHROS rely on implementation science to transfer what tends to be abstract and theoretical issues into practical solutions that can be accomplished in the context of existing research infrastructures and practice. Strategy briefs are the essential first step in implementation, as they provide both the scientific basis and agenda focus for the consensus-based, sustainable and strategic resolution by means of stakeholder dialogues.

The current strategy brief follows a well-established format. We begin describe and contextualize the central issues and a case is made, both for their relationship to the overall objective of the project but also their significance and priority. This is followed by an identification and prioritization of the key issues involved, in this case the methodological obstacles to optimisation and integration of data harmonization. Relying on the evidence that is set out in previous deliverables D2.1 and D2.3, each issue is presented in terms of potential options for realistic and feasible solution. Each option is motivated and evidence and argument presented. Finally, a recommendation for the best option is provided.


This document is produced in the context of the SYNCHROS project. SYNCHROS (SYNergies for Cohorts in Health: integrating the Role of all Stakeholders) is an EU-funded Coordination and Support Action (H2020, ref. no. 825884), aimed at developing a sustainable strategy for the integration and harmonisation of health cohort initiatives and networks across Europe and internationally. Through intensive collaboration with stakeholders (e.g. researchers, funding bodies, coordinators of cohort harmonisation and integration initiatives, policy-makers), SYNCHROS aims to create a strategic agenda for an enhanced international coordination and sustainable recommendations for better collaboration of cohorts globally, towards the development of stratified or personalised medicine.


SYNCHROS D2.5_Strategy brief on harmonization and integration methods.pdf

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SYNCHROS – SYNergies for Cohorts in Health: integrating the ROle of all Stakeholders 825884
European Commission