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The ELSI Helpdesk is a personalised support service assisting researchers who have ethical, legal and societal questions in the context of a research project. We offer assistance on topics that are crucial in biobanking, such as informed consent and data protection amongst others, in order to promote compliance with regulatory requirements and best practice principles.

By sharing expertise with you, we assist you in navigating your way through the ethical and legal landscape.

If you have an ELSI-related question, please feel free to email us*:

*Please provide us with an abstract of the project when sending your enquiry where applicable, as well as any other relevant information. Given the customised nature of the ELSI Helpdesk, we may need to contact you in order to obtain further information.


How does it work?

Upon sending an email, you will receive confirmation of receipt. Your enquiry will then be assessed and forwarded to our experts.

The ELSI Helpdesk works with a network of ethical and legal experts across BBMRI-ERIC’s Member and Observer Countries. Given that different countries have different regulatory frameworks, we draw from local expert knowledge in order to effectively address your enquiry. We may also connect you to a locally based organisation with the relevant expertise.

Your enquiry is tracked from beginning to end.


Who is it for?

The service is available to researchers located in Member and Observer Countries of BBMRI-ERIC. You are eligible for support provided:

  • you are involved or are set to be involved in a research activity;
  • the research activity relates to biobanking; and
  • you are located in a Member or Observer Country of BBMRI-ERIC. Please click here to check whether your country is a Member or Observer.


What happens after we respond?

Much of the information generated from the ELSI Helpdesk will also be beneficial to the wider biobanking community. As a publicly funded research infrastructure, it is important that any knowledge generated is shared. Therefore responses issued through the ELSI Helpdesk may be used to feed into the ELSI Knowledgebase, an open access resource platform that is currently under development. Any personal and confidential details will of course be removed.

To see what we’ve achieved to date, please click here.


What is it not?

Any information provided by the ELSI Helpdesk is not legal advice. As a research infrastructure, BBMRI-ERIC provides a public service by providing expertise and sharing experience regarding ELSI issues for the use and benefit of the biobanking community. Information offered by the ELSI Helpdesk represents one view on the particular ELSI issue raised. It is not intended, and should not be taken as the only view on the respective matter. Professional legal advice should always be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of information provided by the ELSI Helpdesk.

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