Launched in March 2015, the UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre has been set up to support the work of biobanks by improving access to their collections of human tissue samples for research purposes through its four main work areas:
- informatics: making tissue and data collections easier to find and access through a freely accessible online Tissue Directory;
- harmonisation and quality: developing standards and consensus on the collection and storage of tissues and data across academia, the NHS and industry so they can be more widely used across projects;
- stakeholder engagement: working with people and organisations to promote best practice in sample collection, governance and public engagement; and
- international: connecting the UK with European and other international biobanking initiatives such as BBMRI-ERIC to further increase access to samples and ensure UK systems are compatible with those abroad.
Stakeholder engagement is at the core of the Centre’s work – engaging with diverse groups of people and organisations interested in biobanking will ensure activities are relevant to the wider community. They are currently running a short survey to help them to structure the work of the Directory over the next six to eighteen months.