Tilburg and Equalit: establishing common ground between municipalities with cloud-based container technology
Transforming the public sector. Discover how Dutch municipalities are driving a new culture of innovation and knowledge sharing.
In the healthcare industry, collaboration among multiple stakeholders is essential in driving biomedical research. Universities, Hospitals, Pharma, and Biotech are part of a complex and connected ecosystem. Healthcare institutions face critical obstacles when it comes to aggregating, harmonizing, and exploiting data for their studies. The lack of seamless knowledge sharing is hindering the progress of scientific discoveries.
The most advanced scientific discoveries are rarely an effort by a single researcher. Healthcare providers and academia are cooperating with private and public organizations to translate scientific discoveries into value for patients. Governments, pharma, and insurance companies represent a key group, being the payors within the biomedical area. Genomics, together with other multi-omic sciences represent the foundation of such an ecosystem. Scientists across the globe aim to retrieve actionable insights for scientific discoveries, clinical research and clinical applications. As multi-omic datasets continue to increase in size and complexity, we realize that bottlenecks of data management, governance and collaboration persist. Additionally, scientists deal with research funds, and management of intellectual property generated by projects in consortia.
The size and complexity of biomedical data along with the need to collaborate across entities can be a daunting task. As a former academic researcher, collaborations within consortia were challenging in many aspects:
Lack of data interoperability and trust represent the main obstacles of knowledge sharing. Since a while, the role of technology companies and organizations is to enable collaborations and interoperable standards.
Adequate funding is essential to sustain research by healthcare providers and academic institutions. However, securing the necessary budget is becoming more challenging despite a healthy funding landscape. For example, EU Horizon grants keep fuelling biomedical research. National and international funds are very much available, but the focus of the research grants have evolved. Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and the rise of multi-omics studies are front and center across the funding landscape.
Collaboration and discoveries are great but the ownership behind those achievements is too often debated. Intellectual property is a challenge to be addressed when collaborations are set. Institutions can work together to establish fair agreements that recognize the value of each party’s contributions and protect the respective intellectual property while also facilitating the sharing of information and adoption of cutting-edge technologies. Establishing clear communication channels and being transparent of respective interests and goals might be the key.
Microsoft is at the forefront when it comes to security, trust, and data stewardship. The cooperation with governments, public and private institutions generate a united front in biomedical research. Such cooperation aims to boost innovation and create trust among peers. Here are a few examples of solutions for researchers:
Data sharing, governance, funding, and intellectual property rights represent the main challenge to biomedical research innovation if not addressed properly. All stakeholders shall work to overcome these challenges and collaborate effectively to advance medical knowledge and improve patient care.