Genomics England are pleased to announce that we have launched our brand-new Research Portal! This is a central hub for GeCIP and Discovery Forum researchers to browse available resources, access our Information Governance training course and register their proposed research projects in the Research Registry. The Portal is particularly valuable for GeCIP members as they are able to easily track the progress of their application, directly contact reviewers and apply to additional GeCIP domains. Overall, the Research Portal will significantly expedite researchers’ access to the 100,000 Genomes Project data and will facilitate collaborations, accelerating the world-leading research being carried out on this dataset.

Public Access

The Portal is not only a boon for researchers. Public users are able to view all approved projects in the Research Registry and read their lay summaries. This will be particularly advantageous to the Project participants who will now be able to explore and understand the research currently being undertaken on their data, providing an additional level of transparency and unity between participant and researcher. In addition, Genomics England will be actively encouraging and facilitating contact between participants and researchers, whether it is to improve the quality of a lay summary or to join the research project as a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) representative.

GeCIP onboarding improvements

In the past, academic and clinical researchers joining the GeCIP would not be able clearly view the progress of their application nor why they did not have data access yet. In the new system prospective GeCIP members can track their application with real-time updates. This is because domain leads (reviewers of scientific aims) and institutional membership secretaries (reviewers of identity/affiliation) can now log in to the Portal and manage applicants directly. Reviewers and applicants can easily contact one another within the Portal through the commenting system to ask for clarification or provide additional information. The new system has considerably streamlined the onboarding process and will generally be a more coherent and user-friendly experience for both applicants and reviewers

Research Registry

This new iteration of the Research Registry means that GeCIP and Discovery Forum members can now browse and submit research projects outside of the Research Environment. This simplifies aspects such as being able to more easily copy and paste their project details, and also now means researchers can get a headstart by exploring the existing projects and submitting their own, prior to data access. This new Research Registry includes a sophisticated advanced search that enables researchers to find projects based on specific diseases or genes of interest. Improving the search functionality means that it will be easier find research projects related to one’s area of interest and form collaborations, as well as preventing potential duplications of effort. As with onboarding researchers, we have sought to make the review process for research projects faster and more straightforward so that researchers can begin their all-important work sooner.

A look to the future

This is only the first version of the Research Portal and we will endeavour to continue making improvements. Facilitating good research and fostering collaborations between academic, clinical, commercial researchers and Project participants alike, are our top priorities. The Research Portal is a positive first step, but we welcome feedback for ways we could make things even better!