Our unique approach

Through the NIHR BioResource, researchers can choose participants based on their genetic make-up or on  physical characteristics, such as markers in their blood cells.


Selecting participants can deliver advantages in refining a study to focus on the most suitable people.

In contrast, when recruiting using posters or using clinics, researchers can only categorise participants on criteria such as age, gender and condition. These programmes are unfocused and time consuming; researchers might have to recruit very large numbers of participants to ensure they include enough people who have a particular genetic make-up of interest.

For example, in a programme studying a common genetic variant that occurs in approximately 1 in 10 people, researchers would have to recruit about 500 participants to find 50 with the genetic variation of interest.

Time-consuming, typical route and time-saving BioResource route to genetic discovery, graphic
Time-consuming typical approach (upper) and time-saving BioResource route (lower) to genetic discovery

The NIHR BioResource approach is more time efficient: with 200,000 participants ready to take part, the process of identifying the 50 research-ready volunteers is far simpler and more efficient.

Our effort can be focused on identifying the participants needed for your study. If you submit a request, we can screen DNA samples in advance of participant selection for the particular  gene or variant of interest.

Consequently we only invite to take part those people who have the genetic and/or phenotypic variation that is important to your study. Valuable functional research is now possible into the causes of many diseases that previously would have proven too costly or time-consuming.

Our aim is to make your research more efficient.

Our unique data

How to apply to use BioResource data