Shaping the future of genomic data use: GA4GH opens call for next generation of Driver Projects

20 Feb 2023

GA4GH Driver Projects shape the way we access, share, study, and use genomic data across borders.

The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) has issued a call for new Driver Projects to join a rapidly expanding community that boosts responsible genomic data sharing to benefit human health.

Groups with projects to embed genomics in healthcare, set genomic data sharing policies, expand data access for specific diseases, and achieve other goals related to responsible use of human genomic data are invited to apply. The application is open for submissions from 20 February through 30 April 2023.

GA4GH Driver Projects shape the way we access, share, study, and use genomic data across borders.

GA4GH is the international standards organisation for genomics. Driver Projects are real-world genomic data initiatives that help develop and pilot GA4GH tools. This collaboration ensures that GA4GH produces relevant standards reflecting the needs of the broader genomics community.

“Since the beginning of GA4GH, real-world Driver Projects have been essential to our success building toward a future where responsible use of genomic data improves everyone’s health and lives,” said Peter Goodhand, Chief Executive Officer of GA4GH. “Now more than ever, as genomic sequencing balloons around the globe, it’s essential we work with a diverse group of Driver Projects that cover the spectrum of research to healthcare.”

In the past 5 years, the roster of GA4GH Driver Projects grew to 22 initiatives, including global community resources like ClinGen, international data sharing infrastructures like ELIXIR, and disease-focused open science projects like BRCA Exchange.

In the same period, five national genomic data initiatives also signed on as Driver Projects: Australian Genomics, Genomics England, Swiss Personalized Health Network, the NIH All of Us Research Program, and GEnome Medical alliance Japan (GEM Japan). Any new national initiatives that join as Driver Projects get the chance to participate in a special community forum to learn from other countries’ efforts and develop data sharing pilot projects.

“In this current call for Driver Projects, we’re aiming to expand to approximately 30 initiatives, with even more diverse geographic representation. We want to broaden global participation in genomics standards creation and establish closer connections with healthcare,” said Goodhand.

To ensure Driver Projects mirror the objectives and values of GA4GH, all applications undergo evaluation by an international External Review Board. Applications will be assessed against four criteria addressing how the project will:

  • expand GA4GH’s global geographic footprint;
  • have a mission and goals that depend on real-world genomic interoperability;
  • bolster GA4GH’s application to global health;
  • have the capacity to contribute to GA4GH activities.

Initiatives interested in becoming a GA4GH Driver Project can review the criteria and expectations.

All groups and participants in the broader genomics and health community are encouraged to contribute to GA4GH standards development through Work Streams and open meetings, regardless of Driver Project eligibility.

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