Large-scale cohort research project invites researchers to participate in science challenge

17 Jul, 2023

ORCHESTRA opens doors to COVID-19 related data to selected scientists

Verona 17/07/2023 – ORCHESTRA-Cohort is a multinational cohort research project on COVID-19 and its long-term sequelae. The collaborative data collection of SARS-CoV-2 infections including long-term follow-ups aims at creating a precise clinical picture of the disease to contribute to better patient care. External scientists are now welcome to apply to participate in a science challenge carried out with patient data of the EU funded project. Penta is the coordinator of the paediatric and pregnancy cohorts within ORCHESTRA.

The ORCHESTRA science challenge is designed to allow external scientists to research their pressing COVID-19 related questions with ORCHESTRA data. The application process is now open and will end on 30/09/2023. The accepted participants will be allowed to perform an analysis of cohort data with the help of Federated Learning and our ORCHESTRA team. A publication of the results is part of the challenge under consideration by the ORCHESTRA consortium.

The Federated Learning approach ensures that the analysis is conducted in a privacy-preserving manner, as data remains decentralised and secure within each participating institution or country. This collaborative approach allows scientists to leverage their collective knowledge and expertise while respecting data privacy and security protocols. “The data sharing process will undergo several steps to enable privacy-preserving data analysis by external scientists”, says Elisa Rossi, data scientist from ORCHESTRA partner CINECA.

We are excited to use this opportunity of opening the ORCHESTRA project and the collected data towards collaboration with external scientists. ORCHESTRA is an outstanding example of a multinational collaborative research network, and with this step of including the scientific community, it will become even stronger”, says Prof. Janne Vehreschild, infectious diseases researcher at the University Hospital of Cologne and Work Package 10 Leader in ORCHESTRA. Alongside the idea of contribution, the science challenge fosters new research ideas as external scientists can introduce novel aspects and perspectives.

Please find all the information on the application process and the course of the science challenge here: 

Coordinated by Prof. Evelina Tacconelli and her team from the University of Verona, ORCHESTRA, Connecting European cohorts to increase common and effective response to SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, (ORCHESTRA – EU Horizon 2020 cohort to tackle COVID-19 internationally (, receives funding from the HORIZON 2020 programme, the EU research and innovation initiative. The research project started in December 2020 with the goal to create a clear understanding of the clinical expression of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and to deliver recommendations for future health crises. 37 partners from 15 countries have established a research infrastructure to collaborate according to defined common standards. Research objectives include identifying predictors of COVID-19 presentation, sequelae by virus variants and immunity function status, markers of disease severity, vaccination efficacy and long-term consequences of the disease. 

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