The Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) was one of the first projects entering the European Research Infrastructure preparatory phase of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap, a strategic instrument that aims at overcoming the limits due to fragmentation of individual policies and that provides Europe with the most up-to-date research infrastructures funded by the European Commission (EC).
Biobanks are a key resource for unravelling the molecular basis of disease subtypes, identification of new targets for therapy and reduction of attrition in drug discovery and development. The broad spectrum of existing biobanks is considered as a specific strength of European research. Unfortunately the diversity - lack of standardisation - of these biobanks and the differential ethical and legal landscape across Europe have prevented their effective use. Development of common IT infrastructure and sustainable funding schemes are key features for large transnational projects interlinking different national and regional biobanks. Agreement on common standards is equally important for all de novo biobanks. In 2008, a pan-European infrastructure BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure) was established to bring cohesion to the European biobanking community and to make the existing and new high quality biological resources available for health research in Europe.
BBMRI-ERIC founding member countries are Austria, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and observer countries are Switzerland, Norway, and Poland.