If you would like to get involved in a WUN collaboration or if you have a project or idea which might be able to make use of the WUN network, please contact Dr. Susan Jim (Susan.Jim@bristol.ac.uk), the Bristol WUN Development Manager.
WUN Global Challenges are collections of high quality WUN collaborative research programmes – each involving a number of WUN and other world-leading academic partners in the programme area – which are expected to contribute significantly – in the short or longer term – to addressing the issues of global significance identified in the Challenges.
WUN Global Challenges are also a means of promoting new or existing WUN collaborative research programmes to potential funders, policy makers and the world more generally by emphasising the impact that these programmes will have on issues of concern to them.
Currently WUN is fostering four Global Challenges:
This new WUN Data Analysis with Privacy Protection for Epidemiological Research (DAPPER) network proposes a workshop focusing on the tools and approaches which allow sensitive data to be shared and analysed without being physically transferred between researchers. The effective exploitation of what are often called “big” data is increasingly important. They provide the “evidence” in “evidence-based health care” and underpin scientific progress in many domains including social/economic policy. Typically, an optimal (efficient and flexible) analysis involves working directly with “microdata”; i.e. the detailed data relating to each individual in the dataset. But there are many ethico-legal and other governance restrictions on physically sharing microdata. Furthermore, researchers or institutions may have an extensive intellectual property investment in complex microdata and although keen for other researchers to analyse their data they may not wish to give them a physical copy. These restrictions can discourage the use of optimum approaches to analysing pivotal data and slow scientific progress. Data science groups across the world are therefore exploring privacy-protected approaches to analysing microdata without having to physically share the data. Two innovative approaches, DataSHIELD and ViPAR, are being developed by WUN universities, Bristol and Western Australia, respectively. DAPPER proposes a WUN-hosted international workshop addressing methods across the field. Practical sessions will be of central importance allowing potential users to explore different approaches in action by running analyses themselves. The workshop will be held in Bristol in August 2016 allowing participants to attend the 2016 International Population Data Linkage Network Conference (August 24-26) in Wales. The workshop will provide the foundation for an integrative white paper summarising the current status of the field. Together, the workshop and white paper will map out key opportunities and challenges, and help potential users, developers and other stakeholders (e.g. funders/journals) to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Across WUN, DAPPER will encourage methodological work in this field and better informed application of existing methods.