Webinar – OpenSAFELY for sensitive agricultural data

This webinar by the Info and Data Management Community of Practice presents OpenSAFELY, a secure analytics platform for electronic health records, and its implications for work in the agricultural domain.


In this webinar, a video of Ben Goldacre presenting an overview of OpenSAFELY is broadcasted. Then, Jon Massey and Jawoo Koo talk about the challenges in the agricultural domain that could be solved by an OpenSAFELY approach. Finally, Pythagoras Karampiperis discuss how CG Labs can offer a similar capacity, allowing data with personal identifiable information (PII) to yield desired insights through analysis without sharing farmers’ information.

In the agricultural domain, household surveys and on-farm questionnaires are widely used to collect data for research. One of the challenges we face is in managing farmers’ personal information. The medical sector has found a solution with OpenSAFELY to analyse health data without compromising patient anonymity, and there may be potential to learn from this approach for the agricultural context.

OpenSAFELY is a secure, transparent, open-source software platform for analysis of electronic health records data. All platform activity is publicly logged. All code for data management and analysis is shared under open licenses by default for scientific review and efficient reuse. OpenSAFELY can be deployed to create a trusted research environment (TRE) alongside appropriate database, compute, governance, and administrative elements, or it can be deployed as a privacy-enhancing layer on any existing secure database or TRE. OpenSAFELY is currently deployed within the secure data centres of the two largest electronic health record providers in the NHS to support urgent research into the COVID-19 emergency.


Jon Massey
Data Scientist
University of Oxford

Pythagoras Karampiperis
Chief Executive Officer
SCiO Systems

Jawoo Koo
Senior Research Fellow
International Food Policy Research Institute


00:00:57 Introduction to OpenSAFELY- Ben Goldacre (Joint principal investigator of OpenSAFELY)

00:13:53 Fireside chat – Jon Massey (Data Scientist at University of Oxford, OpenSAFELY team member) and Jawoo Koo (Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI)

00:27:45 Demo of OpenSAFELY for agriculture – Pythagoras Karampiperis (Chief Executive Officer of SCiO)

00:37:35 CGIAR’s plan to take OpenSAFELY forward – Medha Devare (Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI)


00:43:25 Do you have concrete examples of partnership with private sector industries? – Medha Devare (IFPRI)

00:45:50 Was any of the OpenSAFELY code directly usable or did you need to build from the ground up? – Brian King (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT)

00:48:22 How to write a script without knowing the structure of the data? – Marie-Angélique Laporte (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT)

00:49:52 Common lists were mentioned. We do have ontologies that were developed in agriculture, how/where can they be used in the process? – Marie-Angélique Laporte (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT)

00:54:17 How was the experience of establishing governance? – Brian King (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT)


December 9, 2021

Info and Data Management Community of Practice

CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture

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