The support and goodwill of our volunteers is vital to the ongoing success of the NIHR BioResource. Becoming a member is only the first step in the process and it is the participation of volunteers in further studies that makes NIHR BioResource unique and allows us to support such a diverse range of different research studies.

The NIHR BioResource supports studies looking at how genes influence a variety of diseases and illnesses. By gaining more information and understanding of the specific genes involved in the development of a disease we can begin to identify better treatments to reduce the effect of the disease or cure it. A more complete understanding will also hopefully enable us to prevent some diseases occurring altogether in the future.

In the UK around 20 million people are said to be living with chronic diseases. Living with a chronic disease has a major impact on a person’s quality of life and on their family. The increasing incidence of these also presents a significant cost burden to the UK’s economy and healthcare system. If you choose to participate you are helping the future development of healthcare provision and the long term prevention and treatment of these diseases.

Joining the NIHR BioResource involves donating a small sample of blood, saliva, or other components from which your DNA can be extracted. We also ask you to sign a consent form and complete a short questionnaire and data collection sheet. Some BioResource centers may collect extra samples or extra information from you. Your DNA sample together with the information you provide determines which research studies you are invited to.

You are free to decide which type of sample you donate but it is worth noting that blood samples provide us with more information so if you donate blood you may be invited to a wider range of research studies than if you donate saliva. However, if you prefer not to donate blood or are unable to do so then giving a saliva sample is a good alternative method of joining.

As a member of the NIHR BioResource you may receive invitations to participate in the studies that we are supporting. If you are eligible for a study you will receive an invitation from the NIHR BioResource team. This will include an information sheet detailing the specific requirements of the study and a participation slip for you to complete and return to us using the Freepost envelope provided. Different studies require different levels of involvement from volunteers so it is important to read the information sheet carefully to find out what is being asked of you before making a decision. If you are not sure what the study involves or whether you are eligible to take part, please get in touch.

If you receive an invitation you can be assured that you have met the specific selection criteria for the study and are exactly the type of volunteer that the study team needs in order to further their research. Once you return your completed participation slip to us to confirm that you would like to participate, you will be contacted about getting involved.

Remember, you are under no obligation to take part in any study but we do ask that you return your participation slip either way in order to let us know your decision. If we do not receive your participation slip we will get in touch to find out your decision. We closely monitor how many times we invite you to studies and we will not send you more than four invitations per year.

Find out more

If you would like to find out further information about the NIHR BioResource, please click the link below, to find the person to direct your enquiries to.