Translational Research IT (TraIT)

Implementing and sustaining a long-lasting IT infrastructure for translational research

Translational research programs depend increasingly on a diverse collection of complex datasets that are often phenomenal in size. To ensure maximum benefit, integrated tools for data collection, analysis and management are required, as well as an infrastructure that supports collaboration between research centers. The Translational Research IT (TraIT) project was launched in October 2011 to address these informatics challenges.

icon_Money €19 M

funding from FES, VWS & partners

icon_trendline >4,000

users as of March 2017

About TraIT

The Translational Research IT (TraIT) project provides an easy-to-access and easy-to-use infrastructure for data sharing, together with a set of tools for further exploration of the collected data. It operates across the four major domains of translational research: clinical, imaging, biobanking, and experimental (any-omics). TraIT gives scientists within multi-site projects the resources needed to share and disseminate data and analyses. Importantly, the project aimed to adopt and adapt existing and proven solutions (e.g. XNAT, Ldot, cBioPortal) rather than embarking on major software development projects. As of January 2020, more than 4000 researchers from over 400 studies and dispersed over more than 500 locations are making use of one or more of TraIT’s services. Visit the TraIT website for more information about the project.

Realizing sustainable infrastructure for biomedical research

Since its inception, TraIT has grown from 11 to 32 participating organizations, including all Dutch university medical centers, charities, and a variety of private partners. CTMM initiated the project in close collaboration with members of the research community, identifying opportunities for partnerships and developing an efficient and well-defined management structure. From January 2016, CTMM’s roles and responsibilities within TraIT are provided under the Lygature brand, while the core TraIT facilities are integrated into Health-RI as of January 2020:

  • Governance.  Lygature is the legal entity coordinating TraIT. It takes responsibility for sustainability and legal discussions around the setup of a long lasting infrastructure for the Dutch and international biomedical community. In addition, Lygature provides financial management.
  • Innovation activities. To ensure sustainability, Lygature collaborates with consortium partners to attract new funding for maintenance and extension of the TraIT infrastructure in the context of Health-RI. Lygature is pivotal in creating strategic alliances with other infrastructure organizations (national and international), research funders, and patient representatives, so that further development can take place.
  • Operations. Lygature heads the operations team, which works on professional deployment of infrastructure, and of quality and service management. The team also handles end-user support and education, as well as branding and communications.

TraIT is an important example of Lygature’s mission to bring academia, industry, and society together in research infrastructure projects that allow participants to benefit from shared resources and data. It has required extensive expertise in data infrastructure, management, and science, and has helped to build many long-term partnerships. Lygature, together with the TraIT partners, continues to foster these partnerships.

Lygature together with

Project updates

  • Press release: 2.25M€ for TraIT from Dutch Cancer Society to build integrated Dutch biomedical research infrastructure

    Research IT project TraIT is granted €2.25 million from the Dutch Cancer Society to build an integrated Dutch biomedical research infrastructure. By gathering, processing and storing data on a large scale, more and more opportunities in cancer research arise to accelerate and improve diagnostics and treatments. An efficient and integrated research infrastructure is essential for the storage en processing of these large amounts of data. With the TraIT project an important step can be taken to develop such an infrastructure.

    Read more

  • Adding to IMPACT

    Professor Liesbeth de Vries (picture) and Dr. Frederike Bensch of University Medical Center Groningen (The Netherlands) describe how the TraIT team is helping them to conduct a large-scale multi-centre clinical study aimed at improving cancer therapy selection.

    Putting together a project proposal for innovative medical research takes a great deal of time and effort, but if you’re fortunate enough to get your project approved and funded, being able to concentrate on the science makes it all worthwhile. But what if your project is a large-scale clinical study on several hundred patients? If it is, you’ll have to devote a significant amount of time to administrative tasks, like managing the workflow so that the right data is seen by the right people at the right time. And the more time you spend on administration, the less time you have for the research.

    When Liesbeth de Vries, Professor of Medical Oncology at University Medical Center Groningen, together with colleagues at Radboud UMC Nijmegen and VUmc Amsterdam, put together a grant application for a large clinical study on breast, colon and renal cancers using novel PET imaging tracers, she knew that the consortium had an extra tool in its armoury – the TraIT platform – to facilitate the necessary data collection, data analysis and workflow administration processes.

    Read more

  • TraIT Foundation for further sustainability of the TraIT infrastructure

    More than 250 research projects with over 2500 researchers are currently using TraIT. This large user community urges us to continue the TraIT infrastructure beyond the current project phase in order to be able to continue serving our users.

    We are therefore taking steps to ensure sustainability of the TraIT infrastructure by establishing a TraIT governance structure with a central role for a new TraIT Foundation. As such, we expect to establish a sound foundation for a long-term sustainability of the TraIT deliverables embedded within the broader Dutch research infrastructure ecosystem.

    Save the date
    We are planning to organize a first TraIT Foundation assembly and workshop later this year; a tentative date has been set for November 15th, in Utrecht. This meeting is open to everybody interested in the future of TraIT. We will keep you posted.