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DACO Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should I know before applying for access to ICGC Controlled Data?

    • You must be associated with a research institution or company.
    • You must have an institutional representative at your institution.
    • You must have a scientific abstract outlining the desired use of the ICGC Controlled Data.
    • You must have at least 3 qualifying publications of which you were an author/co-author.
    • If ethics approval for use of ICGC Controlled Data is required in your country/region, an ethics approval letter must be included with the application.
  2. How do I submit my request to access ICGC Controlled Data?

    If you wish to submit your Application for Access to ICGC Controlled Data, please visit the ICGC DACO Website, click the Apply for Access button, log in with a Google or G Suite email address, and start an application.

    Are you applying on behalf of the project's Principal Investigator?

    • If so, please log in to start the application process using your preferred Google or G Suite email address.

    Are you applying as the Principal Investigator for the project that requires access to ICGC Controlled Data?

    • If you already have an ICGC ARGO Platform account, use the same Google or G Suite email address for the ICGC ARGO Platform account and ICGC DACO website.
    • If you do not yet have an ICGC ARGO Platform account, we recommend applying for access using the Google or G Suite email address with which you will access ICGC Controlled Data.

    Once you have completed your application online, obtain the required signatures and submit your application directly through the website. Once the application has been submitted, the ICGC DACO committee will review your application and you will hear back within ten business days.

  3. Who qualifies as an Applicant (Principal Investigator)?

    As set out in the ICGC Controlled Data access policy guidelines, qualified applicants for access to the ICGC Controlled Data must be independent researchers who are affiliated with a legal entity (e.g. university professor, researcher in a private company, independent researchers able to apply for federal research grants, etc.).

    Please note: A student or personnel can fill out the application on behalf of the Applicant, but the Applicant will be responsible for reviewing and signing the application.

  4. Who qualifies as an Institutional Representative?

    An authorized institutional representative is a qualified representative of a legal entity and has the administrative power to legally commit that entity to the terms and conditions of the Data Access Agreement. Examples of institutional representatives include, but are not limited to: a Vice-President Research, a Research Director, or a Contracts Officer for the entity. If you are uncertain who should be listed in this section, please contact the legal department of your institution.

  5. What should be included in the Research Summary (Scientific Abstract) section?

    The scientific abstract should include the background, aims, and methodology of your research project as well as how the controlled data you wish to access from the ICGC will be used. Please ensure to mention ICGC Controlled Data in your scientific abstract.

    When completing this section, please consider the following questions:

    Background: Provide a short summary of the background basis of your research. For example,

    • What founding research is your project based on?
    • If possible, include any previous research in this area that you have completed that is relevant.

    Aims: Provide a summary of what your project hopes to achieve using the ICGC Controlled Data. For example:

    • How will your research impact health research or biological understanding?
    • What are some planned outputs for your research project?

    Use of Data and Methodology: Provide a summary of the methods for your research project and the plans for data usage, including:

    • What major methods and technologies will you use? (In-depth methodology is not required)
    • How exactly will the ICGC Controlled Data be used?
  6. What is a lay summary?

    A lay summary describes your research project using lay language for the general public and it allows the public and broader scientific and clinical communities to understand the research and its goals, impact and applications. It should explain in plain language why you are asking the research question, what you expect to find out and how you will use your findings
. Please ensure to mention ICGC Controlled Data in your lay summary. Consult the lay summary guide, which includes before and after examples of real lay summaries. If your application is approved, your applicant's name, institution, and scientific lay summary may be included in a public registry of projects that have been granted access to ICGC Controlled Data.

  7. How can I add/remove Collaborators from my approved application?

    When you have Collaborators listed on your application, you will see them listed within the Section C table.

    • To add a new Collaborator, click the Add a Collaborator button above the table and fill out all of the required fields in the form. When you add a Collaborator to an approved application, they will automatically be granted access and will receive an email notification with instructions.
    • To remove a Collaborator, click the garbage can icon associated with that Collaborator and confirm this action. When a Collaborator is removed, they will receive an email notifying them that their access to ICGC Controlled Data will be removed within the next 24 hours.
  8. Can I include authorized personnel and students from other institutions?

    All authorized students and personnel must be employed by your institution, as the Institutional Representative signs the Data Access Agreement on behalf of all the employees and students of the institution. Should you wish to share the ICGC Controlled Data with an external Collaborator, they must complete a separate Application for Access to ICGC Controlled Data.

  9. How do I submit an access request on a collaborative project?

    If you are working in collaboration with researchers at other institutions, they will need to complete a separate application should they require access to the ICGC Controlled Data. As a collaborative project, Section D of the form (i.e. Project Title, Research Summary, Lay Summary, and Publications) may include the same content. Please mention this collaboration in the application form directly or contact the ICGC DACO.

  10. Why do I need to provide Google or G Suite email addresses for the Applicant and Collaborators?

For secure authorization, we require a valid Google email address (Gmail or G Suite) for logging into the ICGC DACO Website as an application submitter.

Once your application is approved, ICGC Controlled Data access for Applicants and Collaborators is associated only to the Google/G Suite email address that is provided on the application, which will also be used to login to either the ICGC ARGO Platform or ICGC 25K Data Portal.

  1. Do I need to include institutional email addresses for all of the personnel and students on my application?

Yes, the ICGC DACO uses the institutional email addresses provided for all authorized personnel and students to verify their affiliation. Some system emails will also be sent to this email address as well as any Google/G Suite email address provided.

  1. How do I know if my project is required to undergo an ethics review?

If you are uncertain as to whether your research requires an ethics approval, please consult your institutional REB or an Ethics Committee formally designated to approve and/or monitor research involving humans.

For Canadian institutions: The Canadian TCPS-2 requires that all scientific research projects making secondary use of identifiable data, including coded data such as ICGC Controlled Data, receive and hold a valid ethics approval from the relevant institutional Research Ethics Board (REB) throughout the life cycle of the project. Include an approval letter (in Section E: Ethics) from your IRB or Ethics Committee formally designated to approve and/or monitor research involving humans with the submission of your application. Otherwise, you may be asked to demonstrate to the ICGC DACO that your research project is not required to undergo ethics review by providing a letter from your IRB stating that your project is exempt from ethics review.

  1. How long will it take to process my access request?

Once submitted to the ICGC DACO, you will be notified within 10 business days concerning the status of your application.

  1. Once my application is approved, how long will we have to wait for our access to be granted?

Once an application has been approved by the ICGC DACO, it could take up to 24 hours for the ICGC list of authorized users to be updated. If you have never logged in to the ARGO Data Platform, please log in to initialize your account. Access to ICGC ARGO Controlled Data will be authorized within 24 hours after your account is initialized.

  1. My application was approved by the ICGC DACO, but I did not receive my EGA credentials. Who can I contact?

Once the EGA is informed of approved applications by the Data Access Committee (DAC), an EGA account with the agreed dataset permissions is created within 3-5 days from the date of approval. Users will be sent an email with their login details (please check your email junk/trash folder in case the email has been redirected).

If you do not receive an email from the EGA after 5 business days, or if you experience downloading issues, please contact the EGA helpdesk for technical assistance.

  1. I am having issues downloading controlled data from the ICGC Data Portals. Who can I contact?

For any technical matters concerning the ICGC Data Portals, please contact the DCC help desk for assistance.

ICGC ARGO Platform:
Documentation: Accessing and downloading data
Contact information:

ICGC 25K Data Portal:
Documentation: Downloading Guide
DCC Contact Information: Contact DCC

EGA Platform:
Documentation: Guide to Data Access
EGA Contact Information: Contact EGA

  1. The Principal Investigator of our project or Institutional Representative has changed. How do we update this?

If you are eligible to renew your access request (at the earliest, this will be 90 days prior to access expiry), please renew your application and update any necessary fields before finalizing your renewal application.

If your application has been recently approved, please contact the ICGC DACO for further instructions.

  1. Our research project has changed in scope and methodology. Do we need to notify the ICGC DACO?

Approved users may only use the ICGC Controlled Data for the objectives and analyses outlined in Section D Research Project (please see term 2 of the Data Access Agreement). If these objectives and analyses change during your approval period or if you wish to explore a different aspect of your research, you will need to submit a separate ICGC DACO application regarding this new aspect of your research.

  1. How do I renew the application for an additional year of access?

DACO approval will expire after two years of access. You may renew your application on the ICGC DACO website from 90 days prior to expiry and up to 90 days after expiry. In order to renew your application, please click the renew button at the top of the application and make any changes (if necessary) to your currently approved application before re-submitting it online.

  1. Our access to the controlled data has expired after our 2-year approval. Can I still renew it?

If you wish to regain access, you may, within 90 days of expiry, verify or update information in your application and re-submit it for annual renewal. Beyond this period, your application will be closed and you will then have to submit a new application in order to be granted access.