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BBMRI awarded with European Research Infrastructure Consortium status

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Graz, Austria, September 18, 2013: The Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) was awarded with the status of “European Research Infrastructure Consortium” (ERIC) on September 16, 2013 in the framework of an inauguration conference held in Graz, Austria.

The BBMRI-ERIC Inauguration Conference was a part of a larger summit held from September 16-18, which included the second International Biobanking Summit II and the 1st Annual BBMRI-LPC Forum Meeting.

The purpose of the inauguration conference, held under the auspices of the Austrian Federal Minister for Science and Research, Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Töchterle, was to celebrate BBMRI’s implementation under the European Research Infrastructure Consortium legal entity with headquarters (central coordination) in Graz.

BBMRI was one of the first projects included in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures roadmap funded by the European Commission. Since then it has grown into a 54-member consortium with more than 225 associated organisations (largely biobanks) from over 30 countries, making it one of the largest research infrastructure projects in Europe.

BBMRI-ERIC will form an interface between biological specimens and data (from patients and European populations) and top-level biological and medical research. This can only be achieved through a distributed research infrastructure with operational units in most if not all participating Member States.

One field that BBMRI-ERIC will be able to contribute to significantly was pointed out by Dr. Josef Smolle, Chancellor of the Medical University Graz, “Biomarker research on the basis of biobanks creates the conditions for personalised medicine. This will make it possible to develop efficient, targeted personalised therapies for our patients”.

BBMRI-ERIC founding member countries are Austria, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and observer countries are Switzerland, Norway, and Poland.

The Austrian Federal Minister of Science and Research, Karlheinz Töchterle stated at the inauguration conference, “The collection and analysis of biological samples is central to explore the causes of diseases and to develop appropriate diagnostic and treatment options.”

The Mission of BBMRI-ERIC is to increase efficacy and excellence of European bio-medical research by:

  • facilitating access to quality-defined human health/disease-relevant biological resources including associated data in an efficient and ethically and legally compliant manner;
  • reducing the fragmentation of the bio-medical research landscape through harmonization of procedures, implementation of common standards and fostering high-level collaboration; and
  • capacity building in countries with less developed biobanking communities thereby contributing to Europe’s cohesion policy and strengthening the European Research Area

The expected start date of BBMRI-ERIC operations is 2014.

For further information on the inauguration conference please contact:

Michaela Th. Mayrhofer at michaela.mayrhofer@medunigraz.at


Media Enquiries

Jessica Hadjis

ISC Intelligence in Science

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Vera Hörmann

ISC Intelligence in Science

Email: vera.hoermann@iscintelligence.com

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Editor’s Note


BBMRIERIC will comprise existing and newly established collections of all types of human biological samples (tissue, blood, DNA), biomolecular resources (such as antibodies, model organisms), biobanking and analytical technologies, data management solutions as well as ethical and legal support/services.

Most of our current knowledge on diseases as well as available diagnostic assays and drugs are based on systematic investigation of human biological samples and medical data, which are defined by the OECD as key resources for the advancement of biotechnology and medicine. Their sustainable utilization will be henceforth ensured by the pan-European research infrastructure BBMRI, which is now being implemented by EU Member States under the international ERIC legal entity and should start its operation in 2014. BBMRI-ERIC is a research infrastructure for the whole of Europe. It will be owned by European Member states.


The International Biobanking Summit II- held on Tuesday, September 17:

It is co-organized by BioSHaRE, P3G, BBMRI, ISBER, ESBB and BBMRI-LPC. This meeting will congregate scientists to address issues critical to optimizing international research from human biobanks and provide excellent opportunities for networking. For further information, please contact Anina Bjørnhaug by email at ansb@fhi.no

The report from the first International Biobanking Summit held in September, 2012 can be found here: https://www.bioshare.eu/sites/default/files/1/IBS-I%20Final%20Summary%20Report.pdf.


The 1st Annual BBMRI-LPC (Large Population Cohorts) Forum Meeting- held on Wednesday, September 18:

It will serve as a platform for information exchange between countries with advanced population based cohorts, biobanks and registries and those that are planning to initiate large population based biobanks. The Forum will also provide a possibility to present information on best practices and standard operating procedures of biobanking and information on on-site training to scientists from countries that do not yet participate in BBMRI. Owing to funding by the European Union the BBMRI-LPC will provide financial support for the participation of two representatives from each Eastern European Member State and Associated State to Forum meetings.