Published September 28, 2022 | Version v1
Report Open

Multi-party trusted research environment federation: Establishing infrastructure for secure analysis across different clinical-genomic datasets

  • 1. University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • 2. Lifebit
  • 3. University of Cambridge
  • 4. Eastern AHSN
  • 5. Genomics England
  • 6. Eastern AHSN and Cambridge University Health Partners


Combining data assets for research has historically involved the movement of data between organisations. Trusted Research Environments (TREs) now offer an alternative to data sharing by providing secure environments for approved researchers to access and analyse data. However, data are still held separately. Even where researchers have permission to use data held in two separate TREs, moving data between organisations from one TRE to another can be costly, complicated and time consuming. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate how TREs can be enabled to ‘talk to each other’ to facilitate analysis across separate databases as if they were one, a process known as ‘federation.’

This project aimed to deliver the UK’s first demonstration of genomic data federation by bridging the TREs of the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre and Genomics England without moving original data, only the combined analysis results.

This report contains learnings from the project and sets out opportunities for future work to unlock unprecedented possibilities for research and discovery for long-term patient and public benefit.

This work was funded by UK Research & Innovation [Grant Number MC_PC_21026] as part of Phase 1 of the DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK) programme, which is delivered in partnership with Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and ADR UK (Administrative Data Research UK).