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You are browsing Substra Foundation's Welcome repository: welcome! We are working on methodologies and tools to facilitate multi-partner collaborative ML projects in privacy-preserving conditions. Our core partner Owkin is currently developing the v1 of Substra, a software framework for trustless and traceable orchestration of ML tasks. There isn't much made available publicly yet, but we are working hard on it! In the upcoming months we will release our whitepaper, the first contents about the approaches and methodologies we study, and the v1 of the framework as soon as it passes its first security audit (this is planned for Fall 2019).

Why are we working on this? What is our approach?

We described the context and our approach in Substra Foundation's manifesto (this is an early version, meant to be updated in the upcoming months).

Who is making this software framework?

Owkin's Substra team in Nantes (France) is developing the Substra framework. It started in April 2018.

Is this only a software project?

The software project is very central, but we'd like the Substra initiative to be broader. We aim at producing content about the underlying approaches and methodologies. We are also working on identifying challenges specific to multi-partner collaborative machine learning and how to approach them (for example on how to share revenue between data science partners and data providers).

When will one find something tangible here?

Here are indicative timelines for the different types of material we plan to host here as open source repositories:

  • Whitepaper: for the v1 we aim at Summer 2019
  • Short exploratory notes on methodologies and challenges in collaborative machine learning: from Summer 2019 onwards
  • Substra framework: Owkin will release the v1 it is developing once a functional MVP will have successfully passed a first security audit. This is planned for Fall 2019

Under what license will the Substra framework be released

It will be released under the Apache 2.0 license.

How did this start?

Following-up on a previous collaborative initiative called Morpheo, the main concepts underlying the Substra framework were designed during the elaboration of a multi-partner research project proposal in H2 2017 - H1 2018. It became an actual project and is now supported by Bpifrance and known as the Healthchain project, which resulted from the Digital Investments Program for the major challenges of the future RFP. As part of the Healthchain project, a consortium coordinated by Owkin (a private company) has been established, including Substra Foundation, Apricity (a private company), the Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, the University Hospital Center of Nantes, the Léon Bérard Center, the French National Center for Scientific Research, the École Polytechnique, the Institut Curie and the University of Paris Descartes.

An independent non-profit to host and drive the open source Substra project

Substra Foundation is a French non-profit founded by passionate and committed individuals in 2018 to promote, protect and advance the open source project Substra, foster the emergence of a community of users and contributors, research value repartition models, and promote trustless privacy-preserving learning approaches by-design. As of 2019 it is engaged in large collaborative research projects in France and in Europe in the health sector. It aims at growing its reach and developing the adoption of the Substra Framework in multiple industries. Substra Framework’s current main contributor is Owkin, a fast-growing health data AI startup, a core partner to Substra Foundation (of which some members are Owkin employees), which dedicates a full tech team to the development of the software first version. Its public release in H2 2019 will kickstart the open source collaborations.

How can one contribute?

Substra is a collaborative initiative and we'd like to foster contributions from motivated individuals and interested organizations. At that stage we are exploring different options on what form it could take, what would be the contribution guidelines, how to set this in motion, etc. Our objective is to be ready by Fall 2019. If you already have an interest, an idea, or just some comments, we'd be really glad to hear them! Please contact us at

Where can I find more information?

As indicated above we will publish different contents in the upcoming months. By then don't hesitate to reach out to us at! You can also read the early version (v0.1) of Substra Foundation's manifesto. Stay tuned for more very soon!

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