UK TRE Community September 2023 Meeting#

Theme: What is stopping TREs from working together?#

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. Morning session will also be online.



Free to attend


The UK TRE community is thrilled to announce what is hoped to be the UK’s largest in-person meeting on Trusted Research Environments (TREs) to be held in Swansea on Monday 4th September 2023. The day will bring together stakeholders from all sectors and disciplines to discuss the current state of TREs, look at existing barriers, and define the future provision of TREs in the UK.

The UK TRE Community is a community that has grown organically over the last year 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 meeting will focus on how TREs can work together through the development of open standards, codebases and federation to enable sharing of technology and workflows, and will encompass 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 is open to everyone, and will be 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 will feature 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 will be breakout sessions and discussions where we will take 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 is open to everyone and free to attend, thanks to the sponsorship by The Alan Turing Institute, HDR UK and DARE UK. The morning talks will also be broadcast online for those that cannot attend in person, but all afternoon sessions including breakout discussions will be in-person only.


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

Notes from the day#

  • Key questions

    • What’s stopping TREs from working together?

    • What’s actuallu happenign in the TRE space?

    • What can TRE teams do together?

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

    • (What’s missing?)


Can convening a technology ecosystem help TREs to work together? by Emily Jefferson (CTO, HDR UK)

  • Goal to make it easier for accredited researchers to access data across TREs.

  • Four pillars:

    • Technology services ecosystem

    • Trust and transparency

    • Usable data

    • Capacity building (RSEs a key aspect of this)

  • Driver programmes focussed on answering research questions but with a brief to do so in a way that contributes to the collective pool of technology and approaches

  • Common challenges / pipeline elements across TREs / projects, but little re-use / shared use.

  • Convening a technology ecosystem

    • Community, People, Beyond Health, Standards for Interoperability, Science of Infrastructure

      • How can HDR UK support this?

      • HDR’s Technician Commitment - what’s a better name?

      • Recognising non-traditional careers including RSEs

      • Supporting a wide range of impact - not just academic publications

      • Technical solutions but for health need to work for non-health, too. People who work with sensitive data - health or not -> DARE UK

      • Help us develop standards - OMOP, but what else?

      • Innovative infrastructure which is making an important contribution - recognising impact.

    • Technological Solutions

      • Solutions from across the community

      • HDR UK will also contribute some technological solutions supporting the ecosystem - all being open sourced. Not about mandating, but about having something available for all to use / build on.

    • “The Gateway” to signpost and connect things across the community and include some common core elements.

      • e.g. Metadata dictionary, Cohort discovery, Data discovery, Data use register, Data use requests

      • Mk2 Gateway: Brandable by others, interoperable, modular, community developed, re-use existing solutions / components, driven by use case exemplars, open APIs, automated, scalable

Breakout Rooms Session 1#


Multi-TRE analysis: challenges, governance requirements, federation


Current state of the art re data linkage/federation/AI&ML&LLM across infrastructures: federation, governance, safe output methods


TRE sustainability and operations


Safety and security of Python and R package import into TREs


Community-based efforts and collaborations in public involvement and engagement


Cloud vs on-prem TREs: costs, constraints, pros & cons


The role of independent TRE providers in relation to the NHS national and regional SDEs


Future governance of the SATRE Specification


What are the detractors to standardisation and Supporting evolution of platforms / services


General discussion

Breakout Rooms Session 2#


Access and rights metadata to support process choreography and interoperability (e.g. generic researcher applications and authorization)


Addressing data harmonisation between different datasets: do TREs have a role?


Sight unseen: how far can we go with keeping data hidden from users


TRE sustainability and operations


Safety and security of Python and R package import into TREs


Cloud vs on-prem TREs: costs, constraints, pros & cons


Governance of the UK TRE Community


Accrediting people as well as environments… will developing “trusted researchers” allow us to do better/more/quicker data science?


The role of independent TRE providers in relation to the NHS national and regional SDEs


General discussion


What are the detractors to standardisation and working together? How can the reasons for the tension work alongside standardisation?


General discussion