Our News

Now available - online course SPHN Data Privacy and IT Security

15 October 2019
Following the successful data privacy and IT security pilot training last year, the training opportunities are now structurally available to the whole SPHN community and the subsequent exam is mandatory to SPHN/BioMedIT researchers/users working with sensitive human data on the BioMedIT project space. Within the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) and related national initiatives, researchers use patient data (i.e. confidential human data) in their research projects. Dealing with confidential human data requires awareness of data privacy, respective laws and information security. This course explains what should be done in practice to protect the patients’ privacy when performing biomedical research on human data. Therefore, the BioMedIT/SPHN Data Privacy and IT Security training is now also available on-line (video tutorial and script) or as before as a class-room course. The latter is hosted in various cities, on different dates and both are subject to registration over the SIB training course page. All training- and course units are free of charge and coordinated by Sofia Georgakopoulou (University of Basel & SIB), Diana Coman Schmid (ETH Zurich & SIB), Heinz Stockinger (SIB). For more information and access to the online exam please contact Heinz Stockinger.


Get to know SPHN: the new fact-sheet shows all information at a glance

12 September 2019
The SPHN Fact-Sheet 2019 aligns all stakeholders on the vision, the mandate, the national governance and implementation of SPHN, as well as on its IT infrastructure backbone - the BioMedIT project. This large-scale, national initiative rallies all decision makers from key clinical, research and research support institutions around the same table. The combined knowhow, experience and commitment of the numerous partners and experts enable discussion, collaboration and progress in the quest to advance Personalized Health research and innovation for the benefit of society.
SIB’s Personalized Health Informatics Group (PHI) is right at the core of the mandate, coordinating the advancements of the SPHN - through SPHN funded project, the contribution of the expert working groups and the implementation of the BioMedIT project.
Icon SPHNReviewFactSheet2019_2.pdf (1.9 MB)


Defining principles in close dialogue with research – the work of the expert working groups

9 September 2019
To ensure nationwide interoperability of biomedical data, a variety of technical and semantic challenges need to be addressed, ranging from the agreement on common data standards, to building a federated secure IT infrastructure. To tackle these challenges, SIB’s Personalized Health Informatics Group sets-up and coordinates expert working groups. The members of these teams aim to develop standards and pragmatic, sustainable “best practices” covering all key dimensions of interoperability in the realm of the Swiss Personalized Health Network Initiative.



Common Data Transfer and Use Agreement (DTUA) Template

28 May 2019

As part of a national collaboration and harmonization effort, SPHN key contributors (among them SIB/DCC) together with the Swiss Biobanking Platform (SBP) have developed a common template for both, the Data Transfer and Use Agreement (DTUA) and the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). These templates are to facilitate data and material exchange in the context of academic research projects.

To access the DTUA template SPHN ELSI,
To access the MTA template SBP

More details in the SPHN-SAMS Newsletter in (German/English | French/English)


University Hospital IT departments join forces within SPHN: welcome to the new Hospital IT Working Group of the DCC

10 April 2019

The representatives of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) departments of the University Hospitals form a new DCC working group, to promote the development of the Swiss-wide IT infrastructure and accelerate the harmonization process regarding the implementation and adoption of technical solutions within SPHN. The mission of the Hospital IT Working Group is complementary to the other Working Groups, bridging the gap with key focus areas, such as semantic interoperability, bioinformatics/data analysis, IT security and BioMedIT interoperability.  

Read more…


“The network we are building to empower personalized health research will be here to last”

4 April 2019

In March, Torsten Schwede passed the leadership baton to Katrin Crameri. In an interview, they share their vision of the PHI group’s mandate and their common longstanding passion to make data-driven medicine a reality in Switzerland.



Onboarding the project teams of the 2nd SPHN call for proposals

1 March 2019

What is the difference between SPHN and regular research funding, like SNF? How can multi-site collaborations be supported from an IT perspective? Where can the ethical framework guidelines be found and what is the data governance enforced in hospitals? These were only some of the questions that were addressed during the onboarding meeting in Bern.

Read more…


Welcome to Katrin Crameri and Kristin Gnodtke

1 March 2019

We are pleased to announce two new team members who will fill key roles, bringing additional knowhow and experience to our team.
Katrin Crameri has joined as the new Director Personalized Health Informatics group, and Kristin Gnodtke as Clinical Data Specialist.



Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) named a 2019 GA4GH Driver Project

4 February 2019

The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) will join an international group of 22 leading genomic data initiatives working together to enable sharing of genomic and health-related data for research. The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) has selected SPHN among its 2019 Driver Projects that aim to develop and pilot standards for sharing genomic and health-related data.



Introducing the DCC Seminar and Training series

20 December 2018

As we advance on our mission to establish nationwide, secure, technical and semantic interoperability of health-related data for personalized health, these seminars are a great opportunity to learn from each other, ask questions and leverage expert know-how from the research teams.



BioMedIT project management: a warm welcome to Martin Fox

3 December 2018

In December, Martin Fox has joined our team as a BioMedIT Project Manager. He will be working very closely with the experienced and knowledgeable IT and security specialists involved in BioMedIT, defining and managing implementation milestones within each project workstream, as well as monitoring the progress to ensure that the milestones are achieved.



First SPHN training on Data Privacy and IT Security

20 November 2018

ETH Zürich: Heinz Stockinger (SIB) and Diana Coman Schmid (SIS) presented the first SPHN training course on Data Privacy and IT Security. Mandated and supported by the SPHN Data Coordination Centre (DCC), this training elaborates on what should be done in practice to protect the patient privacy when performing biomedical research.



Progress towards achieving interoperability of scientific computing facilities

7 September 2018

The key objective of the SPHN is to enable cutting-edge personalized health research by establishing nationwide interoperability of health data. Today we report progress achieved in BioMedIT, a project aimed at setting up a nationwide network of secure computing infrastructures, enabling clinical and biomedical research. Each BioMedIT node is affiliated to SIB partner Universities, namely sciCORE, Vital-IT, and SIS.



Policy addressing Information Security for the SPHN

3 September 2018

Today we publish the policy, which clarifies the roles and responsibilities of various parties relative to Information Security and defines the technical and organisational measures necessary to operate IT infrastructures that support SPHN projects. Everyone involved in SPHN projects that use confidential personal data on one of the BioMedIT Nodes needs to adhere to this policy.



Collaboration with the Swiss Data Science Centre

27 March 2018

The SIB and the SDSC are teaming up on developing software platforms, services and best practices for privacy-conscious data-driven science in the context of SPHN. In one of our BioMedIT Interoperability working group’s  projects, the joint team will assess the domain-specific requirements for personalized health research in Switzerland.