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Research and innovation

Data, regulations, guidelines

Data initiatives, guidelines, data sets from the EU and European countries related to coronavirus, EU datathon 2020 and related webinars.

What the EC is doing

The European Commission, its agencies and other regulatory and normative bodies are providing resources, guidance and a framework for research and innovation in the context of and specifically adapted to the COVID-19 outbreak.


  • 21 April 2020 - European Data Protection Board guidance on processing data for research
  • 15 April 2020 - Commission issues guidelines on coronavirus testing
  • 1 April 2020 - New control material developed by JRC to help prevent coronavirus test failures
  • 26 March 2020 - European Medicines Agency guidance on implications for clinical trials

Regulations, guidelines and standards

European Data Protection Board guidance on processing data for research

On 21 April 2020, the EDPB adopted guidelines on the processing of health data for research purposes and on geolocation and other tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The  guidelines on the processing of health data aim to shed light on the most urgent legal questions concerning the use of health data, such as the legal basis of processing, further processing of health data for the purpose of scientific research, the implementation of adequate safeguards and the exercise of data subject rights.

Full story: EDPB adopts further COVID-19 guidance

Commission guidelines on testing methodologies

On 15 April 2020, the Commission issued guidelines on coronavirus testing methodologies. The guidance aims to support EU Member States in effectively using testing tools in the context of their national strategies and during the different stages of the pandemic, including when phasing out confinement measures. The Commission also aims to ensure that high-quality tools are available to assess the performance of the tests.

Guidelines in all EU official languages

JRC control material to verify diagnostic tests

On 1 April 2020, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) announced that its researchers had developed new control material that laboratories can use to check the correct functioning of their coronavirus tests and to avoid false negatives.

Full story: A new control material developed by JRC scientists to help prevent coronavirus test failures  

EMA guidance on implications for clinical trials

26 March 2020 – European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidance covers actions that sponsors of ongoing clinical trials affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic should take to help ensure the integrity of their studies and interpretation of study results while safeguarding the safety of trial participants as a first priority.

EMA guidance: Implications of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on methodological aspects of ongoing clinical trials 

Data and data sets from EU institutions and EU countries

Data from the EU institutions

The EU Open Data Portal is the single point of access to open data from the EU institutions and agencies. It has collected a group of COVID-19 datasets,data stories and data related initiatives. In the applications section you can find some examples of applications developed by the European Institutions and third parties on COVID-19. This list of COVID-19 datasets does not only compile information about the disease but also transport measures, air quality effects, call for tenders and more.

COVID-19 datasets

COVID-19 applications

Data from European countries

The European Data Portal harvests the metadata of public sector information available on public data portals across European countries. Portals can be national, regional, local or domain specific. They connect portals in EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), the EU accession countries, and countries involved in the EU's neighbourhood policy.

COVID-19 data from European countries

EU Datathon 2020 competition and webinars

This open data competition, invites participants to demonstrate the potential of open data and win prizes by developing applications that showcase opportunities for concrete business models and social enterprises. The EU Datathon 2020 has a special section on COVID-19 to respond to the needs of the citizens to be better informed about responses to this pandemic. 

To help participants understand the potential of EU open data, several webinars were held with different speakers from various organisations (World Bank, the European Parliament, the European Environment Agency, etc).

EU Datathon 2020 COVID-19 section 

COVID-19 open data webinars