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What is the Australian Health Biobank? 

The  Australian Health Biobank is being set up to provide a national collection of biological samples from the Australian population. ©  Shutterstock

The Australian Health Biobank (AHB) is being set up to provide a national collection of biological samples from the Australian population. This will be a unique resource for researchers in the future to undertake a wide range of studies for the benefit of all Australians.

The AHB is being funded by the Australian Department of Health who have contracted the CSIRO to act as the Australian Health Biobank Custodian.

A dedicated AHB team at CSIRO will ensure your samples, personal information and any results from your samples are stored securely. They are also responsible for making your samples, and data that is generated from them in the future, accessible to approved researchers.

What is a biobank?

A biobank is a collection of various biological materials (plant, animal or human) which are stored long term under carefully managed conditions, to advance future research discoveries.

Human biobanks can contain specimens such as cells, blood, urine, bone or hair.  Biobank collections are vital resources for the research community and help to dramatically reduce the lead time for important discoveries to be made.  Researchers can apply to access large numbers of samples and/or data that would have taken them many years, and considerable cost, to develop from scratch.

Some biobanks are set up to advance medical research into specific conditions, to help identify causes and early disease detection, develop treatments (for example personalised medicine), or cures.

Research is a vital part of our health care system. Across Australia, our health and medical researchers contribute to discoveries that help us lead longer, and healthier lives.

The AHB will support medical advances by providing researchers with access to samples from across the Australian population – making health and medical research easier and quicker.

How can I participate?

Samples for the AHB will be collected from 2022 to 2024.

Research is an important part of our health care system. Across Australia, our researchers contribute to discoveries that help us lead longer, and healthier lives. ©  Shutterstock

At this stage, participation in the AHB is only available for Australians who have been randomly selected to take part in the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS), conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

People who have been invited to contribute to the NHMS will also be asked if they would like to contribute samples to the AHB.

More information about the NHMS is available on the ABS web site at www.abs.gov.au/NHMS

If you have lost your provided paperwork or would like family or friends to read through the information provided to you, you can access the documents below.

Informed consent form PDF (214 KB)
Informed consent form [text version] TXT (11 KB)

Participant information brochure PDF (271 KB)
Participant information brochure [text version] TXT (26 KB)

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions PDF (341 KB)
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions [text version] TXT (37 KB)

What about my privacy?

All personal information is stored in electronic databases that are strictly managed under high level security protocols. The AHB is committed to making sure that information about you is kept safe and in strict confidence. This biobank will be managed in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research involving Humans (March 2007, Updated 2018), produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Biobanks Information Paper (2010), the CSIRO Privacy Policy, and compliance with Section 95B of the Privacy Act.

More information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions PDF (341 KB)document.

Information for researchers

Samples from the AHB will be made available for approved research studies, from universities and institutions across Australia, to conduct new research that supports medical advances.

©  Shutterstock

From mid-2024 researchers will be able to apply to the AHB for access to samples and/or data.  Each submission will need to have approval from an accredited human research ethics committee. Researchers will also be able to apply to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to link the results generated from samples in the biobank to other existing, de-identified, health and general information.

All research projects applying to use samples or information from the biobank will need to show they have potential to make a significant contribution to health and medical research, and be of benefit for the health and wellbeing of Australians.

More information on specimen access and associated fees will be provided in due course

Where can I find out more?

You can access common questions and queries in our Frequently Asked Questions PDF (341 KB) document.

If you have any further questions, please call 1300 363 400

The Australian Health Biobank will help make research easier by making a collection of samples available to researchers that represent the Australian community ©  Shutterstock

If you have already donated samples to the biobank, and would like to review your details, or change your consent on how your samples are used, please email: biobank@csiro.au

This biobank, and all details of how it is managed, has been approved by an accredited Human Research Ethics Committee which is independent of the biobank project. If you have any concerns or complaints, you can contact the Executive Manager of the HREC email: chmhrec@csiro.au

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CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and our Privacy Policy.


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