The Republic of Slovenia has been officially confirmed as a Member of the Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC). Slovenia was approved as a new member by the BBMRI-ERIC Assembly of Members on 19 November 2021.
Slovenia will be represented in the Assembly of Members by its Ministry of Education, Science and Sport; Prof. Urban Bren, Vice Rector of the University of Maribor for Knowledge Transfer, has been designated as the National Node Coordinator.
The Republic of Slovenia becomes the 24th Member of BBMRI-ERIC. The Slovenian national biobanking node BBMRI.SI was successfully established in 2020 as a consortium of all three Slovenian public universities – University of Maribor, University of Ljubljana, University of Primorska – and the University Medical Centre Maribor. It is multidisciplinary in its nature, bringing together knowledge on medicine and health sciences, on chemistry and engineering as well as on information technologies and law. Slovenian biobanks collect all types of human samples ranging from liquid and solid tissues to fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples to isolated cells and different extracts of biomolecules. Some of the better-known Slovenian biobanks include the Biobank of skeletal muscle biopsies of the Medical Faculty University of Ljubljana, the Viral biobank of the Medical Faculty University of Ljubljana, the Biobank of kidney tissues of the University Medical Centre Maribor and the Biobank of autoimmune diseases of the Medical Faculty University of Maribor.
Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport Prof. Dr. Simona Kustec: ”We are very pleased to become a Member of BBMRI-ERIC and with this part of the European biobanking family. This membership is a step towards our main goals to complement and strengthen our priority areas of biomedicine, biotechnology and biological resources, and to establish a sustainable research infrastructure for biobanking with the highest European and global standards.”
The Slovenian national biobanking node BBMRI.SI coordinator Prof. Dr. Urban Bren: “It is a great privilege to become a member of BBMRI-ERIC. This will help us consolidate the Slovenian biobanking ecosystem using common Quality Management schemes, IT tools as well as Ethical, Legal and Societal practices. The membership will foster international exchange of knowledge and human biosamples leading to an improved statistics and more relevant scientific findings. Our applied goals, however, remain firmly fixed on benefiting the society by developing improved or completely novel treatments for current and potential future health threats.”
BBMRI-ERIC’s Director General Jens Habermann: “It is with great pleasure I welcome Slovenia to BBMRI-ERIC. Slovenia is a country with vibrant biobanks and we are delighted to see that all three public universities and the University Medical Centre Maribor are already working together. Like in our other member states, researchers and biobankers from the Slovenian National Node will have access to additional knowledge in Quality Management, ELSI, IT tools, and tailor-made guidance by BBMRI-ERIC that will support their development. We are looking forward to bringing the Slovenian biobanking community into BBMRI-ERIC and working closely with them. I am also very glad to welcome Slovenian representatives to our Assembly of Members. We aim to bring Europe together in the area of biobanking, and Slovenia joining BBMRI-ERIC is a very important step towards this goal.”
BBMRI-ERIC brings together about 700 biobanks from its Members and one international organisation. The BBMRI-ERIC Directory, the largest sample catalogue in the world, allows users to search millions of samples online, meeting BBMRI’s main mission to facilitate access to biological samples, data and biomolecular resources.
BBMRI-ERIC is an international organisation established under EU legislation. Its headquarters are in Graz, Austria.
BBMRI provides support and services to local biobanks via its National Nodes (one per country). The National Nodes are fully involved in the day-to-day management of BBMRI-ERIC and provide feedback from the national level. BBMRI-ERIC services cover four main areas: ethical, legal and societal issues (ELSI); quality management; IT solutions that allow users to search collections online and request access; as well as biobanking development.