SYNCHROS 2019 report SYNergies for Cohorts in Health: integrating the role of all Stakeholders

Introduction from the Programme Manager

With the SYNCHROS project, the EU Consortium wants to address and solve a highly complex issue on data fragmentation in population-based, patient and clinical trial cohorts and come with a recommendation to address the lack of data integration and harmonisation across the different cohorts.

This project will require extensive stakeholder involvement, a systematic approach and methodology, and navigation through a complex system. The Synergist’s unique expertise and experience in solving complex societal issues by addressing broken systems and our ability to act as an incubator and gather relevant partners around a shared goal was recognised to be of key value for this EU project.

Danielle Derijcke Programme Manager

About the project

SYNCHROS is a three-years European project funded under the Research Programme Horizon 2020 . Project start: Jan. 1st, 2019

Europe is extremely well served by a rich variety of population, patient and clinical trial cohorts, harmonised with international studies. More problematic is integrating data ‘horizontally’ across diverse cohort studies, either across different population cohorts, across patient cohorts for different diseases or across general population and patient cohorts. The enormous potential benefits of the rich information contained in cohort studies have, to date, not been optimally exploited. This is the challenge that SYNCHROS sets out to address. If personalised medicine is to be achieved, we will need to ensure that we are able to integrate large data sets, interoperate -omics data (including genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) and incorporate additional information on how these different networks interact in producing disease outcomes.

The objective of the SYNCHROS coordination and support action is to establish a sustainable European strategy for the development of the next generation of integrated cohorts, thereby contributing to an international strategic agenda for enhanced coordination of cohorts globally.

With this strategy SYNCHROS wants to address the practical, ethical and legal, and the methodological challenge to optimising the exploitation of current and future cohort data, towards the development of stratified and personalised medicine as well as facilitating health policy.

In brief, we can distinguish four phases for SYNCHROS:

  • Phase I (M2-M18): Collecting and analysing evidence
  • Phase II (M6-M24): Creating strategy briefs
  • Phase III (M6-M30): Conducting stakeholder dialogues
  • Phase IV (M6-M34): Synthesising the proposal strategy

2019 Achievements

The Synergist is leading one of the workstreams with the objective of taking stock of emerging and new data collection technologies and their potential impact on the development of future cohort studies and the need to optimise the integration of data.

The first task led by The Synergist has been duly completed and submitted to the European Committee in line with the time schedule. The objective was to deliver a landscape analysis mapping potential digital data sources and collection mechanisms (e.g. devices, social media and online behaviors, crowd or cohort participation) that should be considered as part of the strategic recommendation to integrate, develop further and optimise cohort studies.

Our 2020 Approach

In 2020, The Synergist will deliver two additional tasks in its function at Synchros.

The task, led by NIOM, has been submitted to the consortium partners early January 2020. The objective of this taskforce was to map the existing population and patient cohorts using social media and new communication technologies.

There was a two-step approach to make this happen. First, we jointly defined the best methodology for screening and researching the literature.Second,e build a repository of existing population and patient cohorts using social media and new communication technologies.A third and last task is to deliver an analysis of the strengths, limitations and barriers of using new communication technologies in population-based and patient cohort studies, a task led by the Swiss Paraplegic Research team.


The SYNCHROS Team consists of:

  • Nicholas Brooke Executive Director
  • Helena Harnik Synergist Programs Director
  • Eric Blanchet Operations Director
  • Jean-Christophe Capelle Financial Director
  • Danielle Derijcke Program Manager
  • Roxana Radu Communications Manager
  • Gulwish Ahmed Communications Assistant
  • Bonaventure Ikediashi Project Manager

SYNCHROS partners

"Collecting large amounts of cohort data is not easy and thus, we should benefit optimally from existing datasets. One way to achieve that is by harmonising different datasets. Nowadays, there are many experts in data harmonisation and SYNCHROS aims to streamline their knowledge into a proposal that would facilitate future harmonisation of cohort studies, taking into account the methodological as well as ethical and legal issues.”

Dr. Josep Maria Haro SYNCHROS Project Manager, PSSJD, Barcelona, Spain