The UK TRE Community is an Interest Group that emerged from initial efforts among Research Software Engineers (RSE) to enhance collaboration in designing and delivering Trusted Research Environments (TREs). However, it soon recognised the need to extend its reach beyond the RSE community to help address some of the challenges TREs face, including:
- Trustworthiness and transparency: Currently, information publicly available about policies, processes, and systems protecting sensitive data is limited, making it difficult to verify whether data is appropriately protected.
- Accessibility and usability: Many organisations lack the resources to independently develop trustworthy and usable policies, processes, and systems, creating barriers to data-driven research.
- Effectiveness and efficiency: Currently, organisations independently develop their policies, processes, and systems for working with sensitive data, leading to duplicated efforts.
The UK TRE Community aims to address these challenges through:
- Open and collaborative development of information governance processes, policies, and technology: Co-designing and co-engineering with technologists, policy communities, professionals, and data subjects.
- Transparent and verifiable open policies, processes, and systems: Fostering trust.
- Reproducible resources: Solving problems once, preventing duplication of work, and enabling independent verification.
The UK TRE Community is currently focused on the following:
- Outreach and Engagement
- Identifying stakeholders and interested parties involved in designing, planning, building, and maintaining TREs.
- Reviewing the wider TRE landscape periodically to build a community representing the entire UK and all those potentially affected by the policies and frameworks guiding TRE development.
- Establishing connections, communication methods, and resource-sharing pathways with other community groups in the UK and beyond, preventing duplication of work and disseminating knowledge effectively.
- Sending representatives to external events and expanding the presence beyond the community.
- Supporting Collaboration
- Facilitating consensus-building and collaboration among community members by maintaining open communication spaces, such as a Slack Channel and JISC Mailing List.
- Hosting quarterly half-day events for knowledge sharing, problem-solving, and networking. This includes at least one annual in-person event.
- Identifying and running additional events for the community on an as-needed basis.
Participation and Collaboration
The UK TRE Community involves anyone interested in TREs, regardless of skills and experience. Currently, it includes members of the RSE community, DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK), TRE teams within UK universities and research institutions, independent experts/consultants providing advice on TREs, and members of the public interested in the TRE space. It also benefits from the participation of several commercial TRE and cloud providers. Individuals and organisations in the TRE space, including statistical agencies and charities, as well as anybody curious to learn more about this area, are welcome to join and collaborate.
Ways of Working
The UK TRE Community meets in person quarterly, with subgroups self-organising in between. The Community Management and Engagement subgroup meets fortnightly and communicates primarily via Slack, making minutes and outputs publicly available. The UK TRE Community also establishes guidance for newly formed working groups on best practices around meeting frequency, project management, and communication of outputs.
- Hari Sood, The Alan Turing Institute
- Simon Li, University of Dundee
- David Sarmiento Perez, The Alan Turing Institute
- Balint Stewart, DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK)
- Lucy Cheesman, University of Sheffield
- Madalyn Hardaker, King’s College London
For more information, send an email to email@example.com.