Do you operate a biobank and are interested in becoming a partner of the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) coordinated by the German Biobank Node (GBN)? As an alliance partner, you benefit from an IT connection to the Sample Locator (the decentralised sample search of the GBA) and to the Negotiator, the offers in the quality management area as well as the intensive exchange of experience with the partners in the network. The current application round runs from 15 January to 31 March 2022. It is also possible to obtain an "observer" status to prepare for a later full partnership within the GBA.
Advantages of the GBA
Under the umbrella of GBN, 21 partner biobanks, 14 observer biobanks and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg for IT development work together in the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) to facilitate access to the biospecimens and data available at different biobanks for (inter)national biomedical research. The mission statement outlining the fundamental principles, values and aims of this cooperation can be viewed here.
GBA partner biobanks participate in proficiency tests and internal “friendly audits” as well as receive extensive advice on QM and IT matters. The Sample Locator, a decentralised online search (samplelocator.bbmri.de), allows researchers to locate biosamples and related data far more easily. This enhances the visibility of the biobanks represented. The chat tool Negotiator supports the biobanks in communicating with requesting researchers. Alliance partners benefit from the exchange with fellow partners during internal workshops and training courses as well as from the strong representation of their interests within the alliance. In addition, the stakeholder management and public relations offers yield many advantages for GBA biobanks. Last but not least, the alliance enables participation in collaborative projects.
Criteria for partner biobanks
If your biobank meets certain criteria, it can get involved as a GBA partner. One of the basic requirements is a willingness to make biosamples and related data available for research projects outside of your institution. Your biobank should also have an established quality management system – the GBN QM handbook provides an excellent guide here. Other important factors for admission to the alliance include sufficient IT resources and the possibility to install and operate a “bridgehead” locally, which allows a connection to the online sample search across all biobanks. Furthermore, applicant biobanks should be represented in the German Biobank Directory.
Criteria for observers
Your biobank is still in the process of being set up and your quality management is only rudimentary? In the IT area, are you planning to switch to a professional database system? You can learn from the experience of the GBA and receive support for the next steps by applying to become a GBA observer. This status also serves as preparation for a full partnership within the Alliance later on. Staff members of an observer biobank can take advantage of numerous GBA offers such as webinars and further training – but as an observer you are not obliged to participate in the overarching proficiency tests or internal audits. Benefit from the expertise of 21 GBA partner biobanks and become a partner of the Alliance yourself at the appropriate time.
Should you be interested in a partnership/the observer status and your biobank largely meets the above criteria, you can apply to join the alliance as partner or observer. The current round of applications runs from 15 January to 15 March 2022. The application process is as follows:
- You complete our questionnaire and submit it by e-mail to email@example.com in due time. For applications as a partner biobank, please fill in this questionnaire. For applications as observer, please use this questionnaire (both in German). If you are interested in becoming a partner in the GBA, please enclose a letter of intent from a representative of your institution/hospital.
- In order to obtain more detailed information, we will discuss your application with you during a web conference.
- Based on all available information, the Steering Committee will decide which biobanks are to be accepted into the GBA as partners or observers.
The inclusion of your biobank in the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) is not linked to any funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) or any other funders. While admission to the GBA itself is free, costs may arise for your biobank as a result of your membership (e.g. travel expenses for your participation in workshops).
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephone (+49 30 450 536 347).