BioResource Centre - Cambridge

The NIHR BioResource Centre Cambridge was the first of its kind and was founded in 2006. We connect local researchers with local volunteers to streamline vital health research studies.

The NIHR BioResource Centre Cambridge has more than 17,000 volunteers, with more joining each month.

Some volunteers are patients with one of the common or rare diseases we recruit for and others join our general population cohort (group). 

We support several national studies that are led by researchers in Cambridge, such as the IBD BioResource and the Rare Diseases BioResource. The clinical team in Cambridge work on local as well as national studies alongside the rest of the national team based in Cambridge.

Gillian, Dani, Barbara, Aisha and Emma from our clinical team outside our Clinical Research Unit on the Addenbrooke's hospital campus in Cambridge
(L to R) Gillian, Dani, Barbara, Aisha and Emma from our clinical team outside our Clinical Research Unit on the Addenbrooke's hospital campus in Cambridge

The NIHR BioResource has its own Clinical Research Unit at Addenbrooke’s hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. It is a purpose-built facility to support clinical research for the NIHR BioResource. Facilities include three clinical rooms, a clinical prep room and a family room to enable volunteer participation.

When researchers apply to the NIHR BioResource or our Cambridge BioResource Centre for recall studies, they can request support from the BioResource Clinical team and/or other local BioResource Centres across England.

Our clinical research nurses support studies requiring a range of clinical tasks including venepuncture, skin biopsies, biometric measurements and other clinical procedures with appropriate training as required. We specialise in local research and can offer specific genotype and/or phenotype groups.

If you are a researcher in Cambridge interested in working with us, please email or learn more about using the BioResource to support your research

For Participants

More information on what is involved with joining the BioResource can be found here.

When you join you will be given the opportunity to take part in both local and national studies.

Here at the Cambridge BioResource, we are lucky enough to have our own clinic on the Biomedical campus, a popular area with our members as it is friendly and welcoming. We have our own dedicated team of nurses that work on both local and national studies.

We are proud to be part of the NIHR BioResource and of all our members.

If you would like to join us please email

If you have been invited for an appointment at S2 please click here for details of where we are and how to find us.

If you would like to leave the BioResource please click here.

If you have moved away from Cambridge please let us know and we can transfer you to the centre closest to your new home. If there are no centres close to your new home you can still remain on our national panel of volunteers, just let us know.

For Researchers

The NIHR BioResource Centre Cambridge was established to support volunteer recruitment to research studies that otherwise would not have been possible using more general methods of volunteer recruitment (e.g. posters and general advertising).

Using existing material provided by volunteers at the enrolment stage (DNA, sera, plasma), the BioResource is able to provide tailor-made cohorts of volunteers to researchers that specifically match their study criteria.

We will consider supporting studies that fall into the following categories:

  • Studies that involve the recall of healthy volunteers by genotype
  • Studies that involve the recall of healthy volunteers by measured phenotype (e.g. biomarkers)
  • Studies that involve the recall of patients
  • Studies that involve genetic data only

We will NOT consider supporting studies if any of the following apply:

  • You have already commenced volunteer recruitment but are failing to reach the recruitment target
  • Your study requires the general recall of healthy volunteers, not specified by genotype and/or phenotype (e.g. only by age, gender & lifestyle)

In relation to costs for using the BioResource, it depends if you are an academic/clinical researcher or if you are an industry researcher.

Please note that we are funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and therefore will not consider applications involving animals, animal tissue or both. For more information on the NIHR’s policies with regard to research involving animals or animal tissue please see their website.

If you are interested in having your study supported by the Cambridge BioResource you should complete the following steps.

  1. Before your application is submitted you must contact the team at in order to arrange a meeting to discuss the feasibility of your project.
  2. This meeting will focus on all aspects of the study apart from those discussed at the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) which are mentioned in their Terms of Reference.
  3. Once the feasibility of the study has been agreed then a formal application can be completed and submitted, through the CBR, to be considered at the next available SAB.
  4. The application will then be considered by the SAB.
  5. Once a decision has been made, the Chair of the SAB will communicate this by letter/email the principal applicants.
  6. The decision of the SAB will then be supported by the CBR and appropriate action taken.

You can find the application form for the SAB here.

Any recall studies that make use of the BioResource facilities at the Clinical Research Unit (S2) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital must have NHS REC approval. In addition to this Cambridge University Hospital must be an approved site.


Applications to the Cambridge BioResource are considered by our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) on a quarterly basis. To submit an application for consideration by the SAB please complete your application and email it to

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

A maximum of 8 new applications will be considered at each SAB meeting.

The deadline for submission of applications is 20 working days prior to the SAB meeting.

Future SAB meetings:

Monday 27th February 2023 (Deadline for applications: Monday 30th January 2023)

Monday 22nd May 2023 (Deadline for applications: Monday 24th April 2023)

Monday 18th September 2023 (Deadline for applications: Monday 21st August 2023)

Monday 27th November 2023 (Deadline for applications: Monday 30th October 2023)

Most common reasons why applications are not approved by the SAB, are:

  • Lack of scientific justification – please provide sufficient evidence and references to support your study
  • Lack of information in the power calculation – please provide a detailed power calculation to justify the number of volunteers/samples that you are requesting. If the study is pilot study due to the fact that no information is available to make a power calculation please state this clearly
  • Inappropriate lay summary – the lay summary for you study must be appropriate for anyone with a reading age of 12 and over
  • No genotypic or complex phenotypic requirements – if your study could easily recruit volunteers without the use of the BioResource (e.g. using posters and/or social media) then it is likely your study will not be approved
  • Your research in some capacity involves the use of animals, animal tissue or both.

Here's a link to information our all of our studies and to publications the BioResource has been involved with.


Box 299, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ

0800 090 1212

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