CANARIE Awards $2M to Research Teams to Extend the Interoperability of Canadian Research Data with National and Global Systems

Interoperability and integration ensure research data can be re-used by other researchers to accelerate discovery and maximize public investments in research

“The ability to connect, share data and work collaboratively with researchers from across Canada and the world is a priority for our government.”

[Ottawa, ON]

CANARIE announced today the selection of four successful projects from its recent Research Data Management funding call. This funding will enable research teams to work toward greater interoperability and integration of data platforms, repositories, and services within Canadian and global digital research infrastructures. The projects also align with the National Data Services Framework and the FAIR principles: a set of internationally recognized guiding principles to make data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable.

Through effective research data management (RDM), research data generated from one project is shared not only among researchers in that institution but also among researchers across Canada and around the world. Software that reflects national and international best practices enables researchers to tap into a network of repositories that support the creation, curation, and preservation of data, so that current and future generations can find, access, reuse, and manage it.

Each of the four selected projects will:

  • align existing systems with national and international RDM best practices;
  • enhance existing repositories and systems to increase interoperability, and facilitate development of a national federated platform; and
  • integrate five or more existing but non-interoperable repositories/systems.

This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s $137 million investment supporting CANARIE’s 2020-24 mandate.

“The ability to connect, share data and work collaboratively with researchers from across Canada and the world is a priority for our government,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Today’s funding will help accelerate Canadian discoveries by making it easier for our researchers to find, access, and reuse data with collaborators across the country and around the world.”

Research Teams Awarded Funding:

iReceptor | Led by Dr. Mark Brockman, Simon Fraser University

iReceptor (originally developed under CANARIE’s Research Software program) helps researchers curate, store, share, and analyze Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire Sequence (AIRR-seq) data, supporting advances in immunotherapy and vaccine discovery that may lead to new treatments for COVID-19, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

New integrations: This project enhances the iReceptor platform by integrating new types of highly complex data that are critical to facilitating research into the immune response in health and disease. iReceptor will also provide researchers with access to other internationally recognized sources of immunological and biological data, making the platform a valuable resource to more research projects.

As we learn more about the role of the immune system in various types of disease, the iReceptor platform helps define the best practices and standards needed to more effectively access and reuse immunology data.

ClinDIG | Led by Dr. Michael Brudno, The Hospital for Sick Children and University Health Network; co-led by Dr. Guillaume Bourque, McGill University and Dr. Steven Jones, Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre

ClinDIG is an evolution of the CanDIG/CHORD platform (previously funded by CANARIE and CFI), a national project that allows collaborative analysis of human health genomics data distributed across the country, enabling its data stewards complete, auditable control over its access.

New integrations: ClinDIG will integrate diverse genomic data with clinical health care records, medical imaging data, and longitudinal observations into a single framework, and federate this data across Canada’s National Education and Research Network. This work will significantly enhance the FAIR-ness of current Canadian health research data and promote its impact internationally through collaborations with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) and interoperability with international data providers and discovery networks.

The ability to discover datasets from a disparate and dispersed collection of health data providers is key to health research and discovery. The ClinDIG platform will facilitate greater discovery of clinical data previously hidden in siloed systems, while protecting the privacy of the individuals to whom the data pertains.

Research Portal Brain-CODE FIM | Dr. Kenneth R. Evans and Dr. Moyez Dharsee, Indoc Research

Indoc-built platforms and tools support medical research teams in the capture, management, analysis, and sharing of research data.

New integrations: This project will enhance Indoc-built platforms to create a Patient Data Gateway to capture diverse data types from research study participants in real-world settings, such as from mobile or wearable devices. This data will be shareable not only with research teams, but also with the patients themselves, facilitating a more participatory research environment. The Patient Data Gateway will provide interoperability of multiple types of data, systems, and functionalities, and allow the linking of disparate data sources, while preserving individuals’ privacy. System integrations will be focused on a suite of national brain-research databases, including Brain-CODE, FoRCE, and the Virtual Wellness System.

As researchers and clinicians develop a greater understanding of how complex biological systems function, there is a complementary need for systems that can facilitate the acquisition, analysis, and reuse of this complex data. The expanded Indoc platform will improve Canadian researchers’ access to important sources of neurological data.

Barcode of Life Data System & mBRAVE | Dr. Paul Hebert, The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph

The International Barcode of Life Consortium (iBOL) is a 32-nation alliance developing identification systems for species based on short genetic sequences, DNA barcodes. These efforts rely heavily on the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD) and the mBRAVE platform for stewarding the outputs from high-throughput sequencers.

New integrations: This project will enhance the BOLD and mBRAVE platforms by integrating various best practices for data management and will also facilitate cross-publishing between currently separate global data repositories such as GenBank, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and the Catalogue of Life (CoL).

These enhancements will support research and policy applications in taxonomy, ecology, environmental assessment and monitoring, biosecurity, and conservation, helping to improve research in areas as diverse as agriculture, climate change, and pandemics.

For more information:

Ela Yazdani
Director, Communications
(613) 943-5432
[email protected]


CANARIE connects Canadians to each other and to the world. Our programs equip Canadian researchers, students, and startups to excel on the global stage.

Together with our thirteen provincial and territorial partners, we form Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN). This ultra-high-speed network connects Canada’s researchers, educators, and innovators to each other and to global data, technology, and colleagues.

Beyond the network, we fund and promote the development of software for research and national efforts to manage data generated from research. To strengthen the security of Canada’s higher-ed sector, we collaborate with our partners in the NREN, government, academia, and the private sector to fund, implement, and support cybersecurity initiatives. We also provide identity management services to the academic community and boost Canada’s startups with cloud resources and expertise in emerging technologies.

Established in 1993, we are a non-profit corporation, with most of our funding provided by the Government of Canada.