UK TRE Community September 2023 Meeting#

The biggest meetup of the UK TRE community to date with presentations, breakout discussions and a keynote from HDR UK on the future of TREs!


Monday 4th September 2023 10:00 - 17:30


Swansea University Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Skewen, SA1 8EN.


Free to attend


What is stopping TREs from working together?



The UK TRE Community is a community that has grown organically since September 2022 for anyone interested in TREs, including researchers, operators, information governors and managers and more, from all sectors and disciplines. The core aims of fostering collaboration and sharing of innovative ideas to support the delivery of groundbreaking research with sensitive data have resonated across the UK and beyond.

Meeting information#

The theme of the meeting was how TREs can work together through the development of open standards, codebases and federation to enable sharing of technology and workflows, and encompassed a range of topics including the development of technical and governance standards for TREs, the major challenges of operating TREs today, and how the community can work together to address these and other common challenges.

The meeting was open to everyone, and was attended by a range of stakeholders including those involved in the day-to-day development and operations of TREs, those responsible for commissioning and funding TREs, and users of TREs from the health, administrative and industry sectors.


The day featured lightning talks from cross-sector research industry teams who are at the forefront of testing innovative ideas for TREs, and a keynote presentation on HDR UK’s plans for the tech eco-system.

A key part of the day was breakout sessions and discussions, which took advantage of the mix of sectors and stakeholders to learn from each other, evaluate the work already done, and define goals for the community and the future provision of TREs in the UK and beyond over the next few years.

This meeting was free to attend, thanks to the sponsorship by The Alan Turing Institute, HDR UK and DARE UK. The morning talks were broadcast online for those that could not attend in person, but all afternoon sessions including breakout discussions were in-person only.

This report summarises the sessions of the day, as laid out in the schedule below.

Recordings of the morning session, including the Welcome, Keynote, and Lightning Talks, are available on YouTube. More detail of the breakout sessions can be found in their respective notes from the day, which are linked in each summary below.


10:00 - 10:15


10:15 - 10:30

Welcome and introductions

10:30 - 11:15

Keynote from Emily Jefferson (CTO, HDR UK), “Can convening a technology ecosystem help TREs to work together?”, including discussion

11:15 - 11:30


11:30 - 13:00

Lightning talks

13:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 17:15

Parallel breakout sessions

17:15 - 17:30

Closing remarks


Welcome and Introduction#

Hari Sood (The Alan Turing Institute) introduced the day.

The intro focused on the four broad focus areas of the day:

  • What’s stopping TREs from working together?

  • What’s actually happening in the TRE space?

  • What can TRE teams do together?

  • What support can the UK TRE Community provide to help TREs work together?

It was highlighted that two great community outputs from the day would be:

  1. A landscape of the current organisations, communities and teams in the TRE space in the UK.

  2. A roadmap of projects, work and tasks community members could undertake in the TRE space, including timeframes, required resources and workstream plans.

Balint Stewart (DARE UK) also introduced the concept of DARE UK Community Groups, and relevant funding opportunities.

The recording of the Welcome and Introduction can be found at the beginning of the Keynote presentation recording.



Can convening a technology ecosystem help TREs to work together?


Emily Jefferson (CTO, HDR UK)



Emily’s talk started by introducing HDR UK, and their primary goal of accelerating the researcher journey (finding data, accessing data, linking data, curating data, analysing data, creating insights and improving health) towards trustworthy use of data for public benefit.

This is driven by the problem of trying to scale research projects to make it easy for accredited researchers to access and work with data from a range of sources, to enable studies with millions of people.

Their approach has 3 main strands:

  1. Accelerating trustworthy data use

  2. Empowering researchers

  3. Promoting partnerships


The stages of a researcher journey were explored in more detail, focusing on:

  • Data Discovery

  • Data Access

  • Data Environment

  • Data Analysis

And how many different people have built many solutions across this journey. In a lot of instances these solutions are quite different, meaning researchers have to use new processes, tools and methods when they go to different TREs.

HDR is aiming to convene the technology ecosystem that we have in the UK. This focused on the aspects of:

  • Community

  • People

  • Solutions beyond health

  • Standards for interoperability

  • Science of infrastructure

  • Technological solutions (driven by HDR UK and co-created with the community)

HDR UK has 5 year window to focus on many technological components, with a team of over 60 distributed across HDR UK and partner academic institutions.

Emily then focused on the HDR Gateway - a way to point out to different technical components across the TRE landscape. Gateway (Mk1) has:

  • A Cohort Discovery Tool

  • A Metadata Data Discovery Tool

  • Data Access Request Form

  • Data Use Register

and more.

Gateway (Mk2) will be much more modular, so the community can build it as an open-source solution.

Emily highlighted some of the work already happening in the HDR UK landscape, including:

  • Federated analytics

  • Phenotype library

  • Prognostic Atlas

  • BHF Data Science Centre

  • Driver projects

  • Hubs creating specialist resources

The talk finished with a call to action to:

  • Talk to HDR UK about what they should include in this landscape, and work together with them on co-creating solutions.

The session ended with a short Q&A, which can be found on the recording of the session.

Lightining Talks#

There were 26 lightning talks given on the day from across the community.

To ensure everyone had a chance to present we randomly split the talks and the audience into two rooms to ensure as much mixing of ideas as possible. All talks were recorded:

All talks were a maximum of 5 minutes long, with a focus on sharing knowledge and discovering opportunities for collaboration.

For detail on the lightning talks, please visit the lightning talks page.

Breakout sessions#

Breakout sessions were held on topics suggested by attendees, with specific topics to discuss chosen by attendees on the day via poll.

Attendees could choose which breakout session to go to. Popular topics were covered in both sessions, giving participants the option of going much more in-depth.

The aim of these breakouts was to discuss the topic area, and explore how the community could take work forwards from the discussion. At the end of this session each group summarised what next steps would look like: what they wanted to achieve, what resources would be needed, and how they could go about it.

For detail and text summaries of the breakout sessions, please visit the breakout sessions page.