Lithuania Joins the European Biobanking Research Infrastructure as Observer

GRAZ, Austria, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Lithuania has officially joined the Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure - European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC) on 15 April 2020.

Lithuania has become the 21(st) Member of BBMRI-ERIC. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport will be the coordinating institution, while the new BBMRI-ERIC National Node will be hosted by the National Cancer Institute.

Lithuanian Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, Dr. Algirdas Monkevi?ius, stated: "The demand for international Research infrastructures has grown substantially over the years and they have become an irreplaceable tool for building momentum and aiding scientists in accomplishing significant achievements. I am glad to see Lithuania integrating into well-established networks, such as BBMRI-ERIC. Moreover, I am sure that the vision of BBMRI-ERIC will lead both Lithuania and Europe to new horizons in biobanking."

Toma imulevi?, Chief Officer of the Division of Science of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, declared: "Recent years have shown that Lithuania's prospects for the development of the life sciences sector are favorable. The academia has shown breakthroughs in molecular biology and the industry has been growing stably ever since. BBMRI-ERIC will definitely be a step forward for this sector and will contribute to its sustainable growth."

Additionally, National Cancer Institute's Deputy Director for Research and Development acting as Director Prof. Sonata Jarmalait? reinforced: "Membership in BBMRI-ERIC is a unique opportunity for Lithuania to become a part of the largest European Research Infrastructure for biobanking. With this membership, our researchers will gain access to wide collection of biosamples prepared under the standardized protocols and procedures of BBMRI-ERIC. This will foster an integration of Lithuanian research institutions and individual researchers into the collaborative research projects together with partners from the BBMRI-ERIC member countries. Furthermore, members from BBMRI-ERIC will soon gain access to our biosample collections, structured according to the high standards of BBMRI-ERIC and linked with unified IT tools. Knowledge exchange will stimulate innovations in translational research and assist in development of new clinical and public solutions for the healthier Europe."

BBMRI-ERIC's Interim Co-Director General Michaela Th. Mayrhofer said, "It is with great pleasure that we welcome Lithuania to BBMRI-ERIC. Lithuanian biobanks are now connected to the world like never before. At the same time, Lithuanian researchers and biobankers will have access to knowledge, IT tools, and tailor-made guidance by BBMRI-ERIC that will support their further development.

"This is also a milestone for European research in general," Dr. Mayrhofer added. "While other countries are decreasing investments in research, Lithuania is showing the way by boosting the development of its biomedical sector - now more important than ever, considering the global health challenges we're facing. Lithuania's vision is particularly impressive."

Dr. Mayrhofer concluded by saying: "BBMRI-ERIC believes in providing services and enabling knowledge exchange for the benefit of researchers from academia and industry - and ultimately society."

2020: BBMRI-ERIC's Directory makes it easier to find COVID-19 samples and data

BBMRI-ERIC brings together more than 600 biobanks from across Europe. The Directory allows researchers to find samples and data from biobanks in 17 European countries. Over 30 biobanks within our network are providing COVID-19-specific samples, data and resources. It is constantly updated:

BBMRI-ERIC is an international organisation established under EU legislation. Its headquarters are in Graz, Austria, with team members based in Brussels and throughout Europe.

BBMRI-ERIC provides support and services to local biobanks via its National Nodes (one per country). The National Nodes are fully involved in the day-to-day management of BBMRI-ERIC and provide feedback from the national level. BBMRI-ERIC services cover three main areas: ethical, legal and societal issues (ELSI), quality management, and IT solutions that allow users to search biobanks and collections of samples and data online and request access.

Editor's Note:

Members: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom

Observers: Cyprus, Lithuania, Switzerland, Turkey, IARC/WHO

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