Consortium led by GMV will create a federated network to accelerate use of AI in health care systems

Multinational technology firm GMV, along with 16 other entities participating as a consortium, will be responsible for creating a federated network that uses artificial intelligence to accelerate health care research in Spain. The project, known as TARTAGLIA, will take place under the R&D Missions in Artificial Intelligence program, which is part of the Digital Spain 2025 agenda and the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The project will be funded by the European Union using Next Generation EU funds, with a budget of over €7.5 million.

Clinical data associated with individuals is both critical and sensitive in nature, and for reasons of security and privacy, use of such data to create artificial intelligence models is highly restricted by law and by government policy. Application of new technologies to solve this problem, and the ability to experiment with governance of a secure federated network, are key factors that will allow all of Spain’s regions and government health institutions to contribute to the data banks, and also to benefit from them.

GMV’s work on the project will consist of applying advanced cryptographic methods to ensure that patient data remains encrypted while all of the necessary calculations are being performed, to create a balance between privacy and the ability to make use of that data, without exposing it and without the need to transfer it away from the organizations involved.

This work will enhance training of the mathematical models and support decision-making, while also contributing to the advancement of personalized, precision medicine. In turn, this will improve the treatment received by patients and accelerate the pace of clinical trials, among other benefits.

In addition to a line of research focused on a federated learning configuration, the TARTAGLIA project will use AI to address other research challenges, such as the use of ultrasound for diagnosis and applications for AI in four clinical areas: Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, and complex chronic disease.

As explained by Inmaculada Pérez Garro, director of Digital Health at GMV, “by creating a public-private consortium that brings together institutions and leading companies in their fields, TARTAGLIA will be a priority project for Spain, with a focus on driving innovation and knowledge throughout the country as well as internationally. We are very proud of this project because it received the highest score in this R&D program, and at GMV, research and innovation is part of our DNA.”

The consortium will be using the IBM Cloud Pak for Data solution to facilitate joint work by the data providers. This solution from IBM, which is supported by advanced analytical models and a data fabric, allows TARTAGLIA to apply AI on any of the Spanish and European Union systems where the data is housed, allowing the researchers to remain focused on their primary research objectives.

According to Juan Carlos Sánchez Rosado, IBM’s Health Industry Leader for Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Israel, “the project represents an excellent opportunity to make progress on developing federated artificial intelligence models, without any need to transfer data. This makes it easier to comply with the existing regulations and the need for data security, which is an especially critical element when sensitive information is involved. This in turn will allow for enhanced efficiency, flexibility, and automation when developing and applying AI models in the field of health care.”  

Alfonso Valencia, director of the Life Sciences Department at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center agrees. “Demonstrating how AI approaches can function in the federated data environment represents a key stage for advanced use of biomedical information”, he says.

A public-private collaboration

GMV is now playing a leading role in various European health care research consortia, by contributing technological work packages designed to apply cutting-edge technologies to epidemiological and clinical data, such as AI, big data, advanced analytics, etc. Some highlights of the major projects the company is now involved with in Spain include HEXIN, which is a public-private collaboration with the regional government of Galicia to produce the first platform in its category for use of epidemiological and clinical data, and the big data platform developed as part of the MOPEAD project for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. In Europe, GMV is currently developing the big data platform for the HARMONY Alliance research project on blood cancers, as well as the platform for the OPTIMA project focused on breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer.

Other participants in TARTAGLIA include agencies, foundations, and research institutes associated with the health care services of the Spanish regions of Galicia, the Valencian Community, Catalonia, the Canary Islands, and La Rioja, along with universities, research spinoffs, Spanish small-and-medium enterprises, and large international companies. Specifically, the participants in the project are:

  • GMV
  • Accexible Impacto SL
  • Barcelona Supercomputing Center
  • Dasel SL
  • Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicáis (ACE Foundation, Catalonian Institute of Applied Neurosciences)
  • Fundación para el Fomento de la Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de la Comunitat Valenciana (Valencian Community Foundation for Promotion of Research on Health Care and Biomedicine)
  • Fundación Canaria Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Canarias (Canary Islands Health Care Research Institute)
  • Fundació TIC Salut Social (Social Health ICT Foundation)
  • Fundación para la investigación del Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe-Comunidad Valenciana (La Fe-Valencian Community University and Polytechnic Hospital Research Foundation)
  • Fundación Rioja Salud (La Rioja Health Foundation)
  • Opinno
  • Pixelabs SL
  • Agencia Gallega para la Gestión del Conocimiento en Salud (ACIS) (Galician Agency for Health Knowledge Management)
  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Complutense University of Madrid)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Asesores de Negocios SL
  • Fundació Hospital Universitari Vall D’ Hebron Institut de Recera (Val D' Hebron University Hospital Research Institute Foundation)
  • Veratech for *Health, SL

The R&D Missions in Artificial Intelligence program

The initiative known as R&D Missions in Artificial Intelligence 2021 is part of the Digital Spain 2025 agenda under the National Digital Intelligence Strategy, and it is included within the first enhancement of Component 16 from the country’s Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan. The program is managed by Spain’s Secretariat for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, which is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.

The projects selected for funding through the R&D Missions in Artificial Intelligence program must be collaborative in nature. Specifically, they must consist of consortia that include at least one large company, one entity focused on research and distribution of knowledge, and five small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The funding awarded will be dedicated to projects with a low level of technological maturity (known as industrial research) as well as projects with average technological maturity (for experimental development). The deadline for completing the projects is December 31, 2024.

To be eligible for funding under this program, projects must be related to one of five strategic sectors: agriculture, health, environment, employment, or 21st-century energy. The intention with respect to the field of health is to create an intelligent data analysis system to provide advance warning and allow early, ultra-rapid responses to the main physical and psychological illnesses that will exist in the year 2050, in the context of decentralization of the health care system and demographic aging of the population.

In terms of the criteria used to assess the proposals, an emphasis is placed on the impact each project would have in relation to factors such as reducing the gender gap in the field of AI, regional connections within Spain, participation of small-and-medium sized enterprises as the final entities for cases of use, the ecological transition, distribution of results and knowledge transfer, and generation of employment. 


The Tartaglia project received financing from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation (case no. MIA.2021.M02.0005), corresponding to funds from the Recovery, Resilience and Transformation Plan


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