Challenges for the sustainability of university-run biobanks

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Most university biobanks begin like other university research projects, i.e. with an idea conceived by an individual researcher in pursuit of his/her own research interests, publications, funding and career. Some biobanks, however, come to have scientific value that goes beyond the projects that were initially responsible for the collection of the samples and data they contain. Such value may derive from inter alia the uniqueness of the samples in terms of their sheer volume, the quality of the samples, the ability to link the samples with information retrieved in disease registries, or the fact that the samples represent very rare diseases. This paper focuses on biobanks of this kind, and the special obligations that publicly funded universities have to ensure the sustainability of biobanks with continued scientific value. We argue that universities should adopt policies to deal with the various, diverse issues which may arise during the lifecycle of a biobank. The policies should be flexible, accommodate the freedoms of individual researchers, and reflect the multifaceted nature of biobanks. Yet they should be specific enough to provide guidance and robust enough to safeguard legal norms and ethical values. The paper sets out concrete recommendations which universities should consider and act upon.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiopreservation and Biobanking
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - biobanks, sustainability, property rights, access to samples, custodianship, FAIR principles

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ID: 194715978