Biological resources, such as cells, tissues or biomolecules are considered as the essential raw material for the advancement of biotechnology, human health, and for research and development in life sciences. The pan-European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) improves the accessibility and interoperability of the existing comprehensive collections, either population-based or clinical-oriented, of biological samples from different (sub)populations of Europe. These collections include the attached data on factors such as health status, nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental exposure of the study subjects. Combined with the expertise of the clinicians, pathologists, bio-informaticians, and molecular biologists involved, a globally unmatched, Europe-wide platform for translational medical research is envisaged with the aim to develop personalised medicine and disease prevention for the benefit of European citizens. In particular, BBMRI will ensure sustainable access to key resources required for science-based responses to several of the health-related grand challenges, such as sustainable health care for ageing population, new pandemics, and security threats. To reach this goal, also biotech and pharmaceutical industry must have a possibility to collaborate with academic researchers in order to fully realise the enormous potential of European biobanking. In addition to clinical, ethical and legal experts, patient communities are involved to achieve standards and guidelines that properly balance individual values, such as protection of privacy and informed consent, with shared values of facilitated access to progress in health care and disease prevention.
This can only be achieved by a distributed research infrastructure with operational units in most, if not all, European Member States. BBMRI is implemented under the ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) legal entity. BBMRI-ERIC foresees a Central Executive Management Office ("Headquarter") in Austria that coordinates the interaction of National Nodes established in several Member States. The Central Executive Management Office provides a common access portal to resources available at BBMRI-ERIC Partners as well as appropriate facilities and expertise.
BBMRI-ERIC will 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,
- by reducing the fragmentation of the bio-medical research landscape through harmonization
- of procedures, implementation of common standards and fostering high-level collaboration,
- by capacity building in countries with less developed biobanking communities thereby
- contributing to Europe's cohesion policy and strengthening the ERA.