Trusted Data Sharing Network

A globally coordinated, health data-led research response to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

The International COVID-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) existed to empower researchers to access health data from around the world, to address key research questions to tackle COVID-19.

At its heart was the “Workbench” – a new data platform provided by Aridhia allowed researchers to discover, access and analyse global multi-dimensional datasets while respecting confidentiality and privacy. The Workbench brought together a combination of tools and processes to connect to regional and national data infrastructures used by ICODA members.

The platform consolidated data and metadata from federated repositories to allow teams to work collectively on a focused research question. Data access and use was subject to rigorous data governance processes, based on the 5 Safes framework.

For researchers, ICODA and the Workbench offered a unique combination of features – direct, controlled and federated access to curated datasets and to the most advanced analytical tools. All of these were developed and tested using “Driver Projects” – exemplar studies where ICODA was working in close partnership with data contributors and the research community to enable research into the questions they care about.

“Aridhia was privileged to be providing the Workbench technology and managed services for the International COVID-19 Data Research Alliance. We strived to support scientists and data scientists around the world achieve insight into the many questions arising from the pandemic by providing safe and secure environments for trusted data sharing and collaborative analysis.”

David Sibbald, CEO of Aridhia

Access to the Workbench was provided free of charge to researchers affiliated with ICODA Driver Projects once they had been accredited and project proposals approved. It was accessible to researchers from all parts of the world with an emphasis on encouraging researchers from Low- and Middle- Income Countries (LMICs).

The Workbench was not just a place to access datasets. It also acted as a hub for the global research and innovation community, with access to expertise, training and support available – all with the aim of advancing ICODA’s vision to support the global research response to COVID-19.

Take a look at the features and benefits of the COVID-19 Workbench and watch a demo of the Workbench in action.

You can also take a look at our ICODA blog series, the most recent recapping on the Aridhia & The ICODA Workbench – Grand Challenges, Driver Projects and Beyond.

Contact our team

About The International COVID-19 Data Alliance

ICODA brought together global expertise and best practice in health data research to enable a rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future disease outbreaks. It was rapidly built on a network of international scientific and clinical expertise and the ability to provide access to diverse data sources. Members were organisations with a track record in health data research and were expected to sign up to principles for participation that draw on national and international best practice frameworks and recommendations.

About the Workbench

The Workbench provided a trustworthy platform to access data for collaborative data science. It had several key functions:

Allow researchers to search and find relevant data from multiple repositories across the world.

Allow researchers to request access to data from multiple sources to address specific research questions.

Allow data custodians to retain control of decisions about how data they hold can be accessed and used.

Allow researchers to form virtual teams to address specific questions or projects in private, secure workspaces provisioned to meet the requirements of their projects.

ICODA website