Swansea University team to join EU project to organise and share information on coronavirus

A team from Population Data Science at Swansea University is to join a network of forty one partners from thirty countries as part of the Population Health Research Infrastructure (PHIRI), a new mechanism for organising and sharing information on Covid-19.

MediWales reports the Swansea University team, led by Professor Ronan Lyons, has secured over €220,000 in Horizon 2020 funding to work on PHIRI, which will run for three years.

Covid-19 is a cross-border issue and a public health crisis and the PHIRI project will allow for a better coordinated approach across Europe. PHIRI’s vision is to set up a research infrastructure to facilitate and generate the best available evidence for research to assess the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19 on population wellbeing, disease and mortality.

The infrastructure will provide a health information portal for Covid-19 for information exchange across EU countries, providing access and use of Covid-19 data. It will also provide the services and tools necessary for researchers to link different data sources and to use pan-European data in a GDPR compliant way.

PHIRI will deliver a structured exchange between countries on Covid-19 best practices and expertise by sharing public health and clinical management information and methodologies, allowing researchers to provide relevant and evidence based information ready for use in research, and decision making processes.

The project will tackle health information inequalities by supporting researchers and public health bodies through capacity building and training.

PHIRI’s Rapid Exchange Forum will look to provide swift responses to research and policy questions that are raised by countries concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will help to gain insights into the possible future health impacts of the Covid-19 by modelling scenarios for national situations.

Ronan Lyons, Professor of Public Health at Population Data Science at Swansea University, said “I am delighted that the team here in Population Data Science is involved in PHIRI. Our role is to lead on measuring the impact of the COVID19 on vulnerable populations and also to evaluate the effectiveness of counter-measures.

“Across Europe, much different policy and control measures have been enacted at different time points during the epidemic. We need to know which ones work best. We are also co-leading on the development of systems to standardise data analysis across Europe.

“This type of partnership is crucial. This EU-wide population health information system will help facilitate better-coordinated responses at EU level to the COVID19 pandemic, enabling the sharing of data and health information which can inform quality improvements in health and social care policies and practices.”

Population Data Science teams working on this project include HDRUK, SAIL Databank and the National Centre for Population Health & Wellbeing Research.

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