About us

GA4GH Startup Guide

Everything you need to know to get started as an active contributor in the GA4GH community.

About GA4GH

The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) is an international, nonprofit alliance formed in 2013 to accelerate the potential of research and medicine to advance human health. Bringing together 500+ leading organizations working in healthcare, research, patient advocacy, life science, and information technology, the GA4GH community is working together to create frameworks and standards to enable the responsible, voluntary, and secure sharing of genomic and health-related data. All of our work builds upon the Framework for Responsible Sharing of Genomic and Health-Related Data.

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GA4GH Connect

GA4GH Connect is a five-year strategic plan that aims to enable responsible sharing of clinical-grade genomic data by 2022. We aim to do this by empowering the world’s leading genomic data initiatives to collaboratively drive the development and uptake of data sharing standards and frameworks as GA4GH Driver Projects. GA4GH Connect links our Driver Projects with Work Streams — domain-specific projects that are developing the resources needed to responsibly share genomic data.

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Work to Date

Since the launch of GA4GH Connect, the GA4GH Steering Committee has approved four new deliverables: V1 of the htsget, refget, Beacon, and WES APIs. In addition, the Regulatory and Ethics Work Stream has rolled out its GDPR & International Health Data Sharing Forum, which provides guidance to the community in a monthly briefing. In total, the GA4GH toolkit consists of more than one dozen standards, frameworks, and other resources.

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Organizational Structure

GA4GH Driver Projects are real-world genomic data initiatives that provide input on the standards most needed for the international genomics community to share data. GA4GH Work Streams collaborate with Driver Projects to create the technical standards and regulatory frameworks most needed by the international genomics community. Driver Projects put finished frameworks and standards to immediate use. GA4GH’s Partner Engagement initiative ensures proactive two-way dialogue at both the national and organizational level with potential end-users of GA4GH frameworks and standards to enable uptake in real-world settings.

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Roles & Responsibilities

In addition to the 500+ member organizations, which maintain an observing role within GA4GH, our community consists of a variety of active contributor roles. These include Driver Project Champions, Work Stream Leads, and Work Stream Contributors. GA4GH governance is overseen by a Strategic Advisory Board, Steering Committee, and Executive Committee, and operations are supported by a globally distributed Secretariat.

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GA4GH Processes

By contributing to the GA4GH Work Streams, individuals agree to the Standards for Professional Conduct. All Deliverables that emerge from the Work Streams must pass through the Product Approval Process before becoming confirmed as a GA4GH standard. The product approval process includes review by the Data Security and Regulatory & Ethics Work Streams.

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Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. Please find yourself in the list below and take the appropriate actions.

If you want to become a GA4GH member and stay up to date on our activities:
  1. Apply online to become a Member
  2. Register for the next GA4GH Plenary Meeting
  3. Subscribe to GA4GH emails
If you want to contribute to a Work Stream:
  1. Apply online to become a Member
  2. Contact the relevant Work Stream manager:
    • Adrian Thorogood (Regulatory & Ethics Work Stream Manager)
    • Melissa Konopko (Data Security, Genomic Knowledge Standards, & Data Use and Researcher Identities Work Streams Manager)
    • Rishi Nag (Discovery, Cloud, & Large Scale Genomics Work Streams Manager)
    • Lindsay Smith (Clinical & Phenotypic Data Capture Work Stream Manager)
If you’re a member of a new Driver Project:

Please contact your Driver Project Champion to learn how you can get involved from within your organization.