About GBN

Become a partner

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)? 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 GBN umbrella, 36 biobank sites and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg for IT development work together in the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) to facilitate access to the human biospecimens available at different biobanks for (inter)national biomedical research.

The GBA stands for a strong community and intensive exchange. It promotes the harmonisation and centralisation of biobanks. Centralisation does not necessarily mean merging smaller institutions into a single large one, but rather good coordination at locations with different (sub-)biobanks. There are many successful examples for this in the network.

Our mission statement outlining the fundamental principles, values and aims of the 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 human biosamples and related data available for research projects outside of your institution. This also applies to an existing entry of your biobank in the German Biobank Directory. Other important factors for admission to the alliance include sufficient IT resources to install and operate a “bridgehead” locally, which allows a connection to the online sample search across all biobanks. Your biobank should also have an established quality management system – the GBN QM handbook provides an excellent guide here. During the application process, the biobank will be assessed in this regard as part of a friendly audit.

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? Then you can now learn from the GBA's experience and receive support for the next steps. If your biobank has rules of procedure and is listed in the German Biobank Directory, you can apply to become a GBA observer. 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.

The observer status also serves as preparation for a full partnership within the Alliance. If you are joining as an observer and are interested in becoming a partner in the GBA at a later date, the application process is the same as when you first apply as a partner – see the organisational matters section for details. Benefit now from the expertise of GBA's partner locations and, in due course, become a partner of the alliance!

Organisational matters

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 application process is as follows:

  1. You complete our questionnaire and submit it by e-mail to germanbiobanknode@remove-this.charite.de. 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.
  2. In order to obtain more detailed information, we will discuss your application with you during a web conference.
  3. In the case of an application to become a partner biobank: If a partnership is approved after this interview, we will conduct a friendly audit at your biobank. If you have not already done so, connect your biobank to the GBN IT infrastructure now.
  4. Based on all available information, the Steering Committee will decide which biobanks are to be accepted into the GBA as partners or observers.

The information you provide will of course be treated in the strictest confidence – see our privacy policy for full details.

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, your biobank may incur costs for participating in certain programmes (e.g. a share of the cost of materials for training courses and proficiency tests, and travel costs to attend events).

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, either via email (germanbiobanknode@charite.de) or by telephone (+49 30 450 – 536 347).



Tel. +49. 30. 450 536 347

Fax +49. 30. 450 753 69 38

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