What problem is CO-CONNECT addressing?

Across the UK, each time someone takes part in research, visits their GP or hospital, or takes a blood test, data from these events is securely held by the organisation that collected it.   However, these data (Data Sources) are held by different organisations (Data Controllers, which we call ‘Data Partners’), in different formats and in different secure environments. These datasets can also be found and accessed in different ways. This lack of standardised approaches and fragmented landscape has presented challenges for public health agencies and researchers to find, navigate permissions to access, and interrogate the data they need to inform the pandemic response at pace. In collaboration with Health Data Research UK, CO-CONNECT is streamlining processes across the 3 stages of a research project.

  • The first stage of a research project is to find the data available to answer a specific research question.
  • In the second stage, if researchers find datasets they wish to analyse, they must obtain formal approvals from every data partner to carry out their research on the data. 
  • The third stage is for researchers to analyse data. CO-CONNECT is supporting two methods for researchers to analyse data.