Going beyond borders to achieve scientific excellence


Today’s global challenges require science-based answers that adhere to common standards. As part of facing large-scale societal challenges, it is necessary to look beyond borders for scientific excellence; to form new means and models of international collaboration.

The pan-European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) is now looking further afield, including the UAE, to establish collboarative projects. The pan-European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) is broadly accessible network of existing and new biobanks and biomolecular resources. The infrastructure will enable access to samples from patients and healthy persons (with links to epidemiological and health care information), molecular genomic resources and bio-computational tools to optimally exploit this resource for global biomedical research. This will increase scientific excellence and efficacy of European research in the biomedical sciences and discovery, and expand and secure competitiveness of European research and industry in a global context.

Access to high quality human biological samples and medical data is essential for Pharma-, Biotech- and Diagnostics industries. To improve access for industry, BBMRI is developing the concept of expert centres (public-private partnerships). The chief process of expert centres is the implementation of common quality standards and management systems as the basis for data sharing and integration. A network of expert centres that implement common quality assurance schemes will create a new framework for international academic research collaboration that foresees analysis of biological materials under internationally standardised conditions thereby avoiding the problems of export of biological resources and, at the same time, exerting a positive stimulus on regional development and the know-how generation. This process of global harmonisation will have enormous impact on many research fields as well as on innovation in biotech and the Pharma- industry, and improved healthcare.

BBMRI goes global

The BBMRI project has initiated a range of global contacts with stakeholder groups, policymakers and industry leaders). The key meetings are the following: United Arab Emirates: At the beginning of February 2012, BBMRI presented its operations to the National Research Foundation (NRF) in the UAE. Both the NRF and university representatives (UAE, UAEU) present expressed a firm intent to participate in BBMRI. In addition, the NRF committed to hosting a conference symposium in biomedical science in October 2012, with focus on BBMRI.

Washington: In June 2012, BBMRI will present its project to leading international researchers and industry figures. The goal of the presentation is to raise awareness of the necessity of the interactions between three levels of coordination at the international level: scientific, regulatory and political. To optimise synergies in research activities, it will be noted that all levels must collaborate. The presentation will highlight the challenges faced by researchers all over the world, for which a common approach is the only possible solution.

African Union: BBMRI was presented to AU Commissioner Jean-Pierre Ezin in February 2012. A further meeting was due to be convened for March 2012 in Brussels. United Nations: In Manila in December 2011, BBMRI was presented to the UN Committee on Science and Technology Development (UNSTD). BBMRI will be included in the UNCSTD submission to UNESCO in May 2012.

China: BBMRI met a Chinese delegation in Brussels in November 2011. As follow up to this event, a European Parliament (EP) hearing is planned for June 2012, to be hosted by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee in June 2012. The hearing will look at EU-China cooperation in biobanking: this will likely focus on the expert-centre model.


ate of upload: 24th Mar 2012


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