TREEHOOSE: Trusted Research Environment and Enclave Hosting Open Original Scientific Exploration

Simon Li, University of Dundee

Trusted Research Environments (TREs) are critical for enabling research on sensitive data. Traditionally, they require large, up-front capital, investment in specialist infrastructure which can struggle to keep pace with user demands for increased power and flexibility. At the Health Informatics Centre (HIC) we have designed a TRE in the cloud to be able to scale with the additional demands made by complex imaging datasets and machine learning experiments. The implementation required considerable custom work, with a challenging learning curve for operations staff. We are developing an open-source toolkit including code and documentation to streamline the deployment of a public cloud TRE. It will share the knowledge and lessons learnt so far in developing and running the HIC TRE and assist more institutions in making their data securely accessible at scale. This includes processes for management of customised research environments, and examples of taking advantage of specialised cloud services that are challenging in a traditional TRE. The toolkit will enable future federated analytical workflows across TREs, since a common codebase, and ultimately open standards, aids portability of code and reproducibility.

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