EOSC4Cancer Network of Key Cancer Data Support Professionals Launched

On 6th September 2023 EOSC4Cancer celebrated the launch of the cancer data support professionals’ network. The group’s mission is to complement the overall effort of WP5 that aims to ensure that the biomedical researchers and healthcare professionals will have the knowledge and skills on how to best address their scientific questions and challenges by using the tools and infrastructure towards accelerating and optimising their research.

As a result of the online expert network workshop held on 19 June 2023, which introduced the ambitions and  approaches to set up a training support network, the core group of 35 data support professionals and other stakeholders from the EOSC4Cancer consortium and beyond met online on  6th September to discuss the first steps towards establishing this skills and training—focussed group which can further grow in the future. The launch of this network marks at the same time the accomplishment of milestone 9 of the project, led by Fotis Psomopoulos (CERTH) and Celia  van Gelder (Health-RI). CERTH and Health-RI presented an initial proposal to the invited support professionals, whose presentation is openly accessible on Zenodo

The innovative nature of this initiative is proven by the fact that to the knowledge of the participants present, up-to-date, no other formal or informal network has been established yet representing a similar range of stakeholders and pursuing a similar mission. Following this scene-setting by CERTH and Health-RI, participants were also given the opportunity to share their vision about the ambition of the network, as well as their ideas about how they could contribute to the network. Attendees proposed that the group should connect training networks and resources to learn about cancer data management, should provide cancer researchers with clear and centralised guidelines and knowledge about available tools as well as improve accessibility to cancer-related data.  Ambitions that were discussed were a.o. to align the cBioPortal EU community with the USon knowledge development and expertise, and help to understand data sharing and research infrastructures. Members of the network indicated that they will be able to contribute to the work by offering their knowledge and expertise in training and data management, their expertise in imaging, using standards and ontologies as well as in biobanks and their associated data. They can also reach out to other cancer genomics expert networks such as the one in Germany. 

The future work will continue along three strands currently under action in WP5, where the active contribution of the network professionals will be considered invaluable. These areas of work will be: 

  • collecting training resources, 
  • defining skills for development,
  • developing the Cancer View page(s) in the RDMkit.

As training resources, all materials will be considered spanning from materials developed by professional training providers to ad hoc materials, events or webinars. The task for this network will be to map what exists already and focus on gaps to fill in. Similarly, some high-level work has been done in the skills area. Actors and individuals have been identified whose skills needs have been assessed but a more granular analysis will be needed where this network can add groundbreaking value. 

Initial activities carried out by the consortium partners in these three areas will be discussed and further developed during a two-day hybrid event on 17 and 18 October where the second day will particularly focus on training and skills. This event, physically hosted in Brussels and also allowing for online participation, will also provide the opportunity to further brainstorm about how to position this network and how to increase its visibility as a highly innovative initiative.

WP5 Meeting(2)