Cambridge medical research hub launched by Government


The Department of Health today announced the launch of the NIHR BioResource, headquartered at Cambridge University Hospitals, a key part of the Government’s commitment to life sciences.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) the BioResource is a national panel of over 75,000 volunteers, both with and without health problems, who are willing to be approached to participate in research studies investigating the links between genes, the environment, health and disease.

Volunteers donate a small sample of blood or saliva for DNA analysis – called a genotype - and this sample is used to ‘matchmake’ them to research studies based on their genotype and/or phenotype, which is about gender and lifestyle.

In 2005 the Cambridge BioResource was launched and today has around 14,000 local volunteers. In 2012 it received funding from the NIHR to develop a national service and now has seven centres, four in London, one in Oxford and another in Leicester. A new centre will open in Newcastle in April this year. 

Dr John Bradley, Director of the NIHR BioResource, explained: “By pooling together resources from all the centres, research teams can quickly access the volunteers they need to help with their research. This sharing of expertise will speed up the research process which will ultimately bring benefits to patients and their families.”

The NIHR BioResource facilitates research into a range of conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and rare diseases. Ultimately it could speed-up the development of new treatments and attract international investment as a result of companies having access to a growing bank of tens of thousands of volunteers from across the country who are keen to help medical research.

The NIHR is committed to helping patients and the public take an active part in medical research. The BioResource is one example of how the public can become involved.

Lord Howe, Health Minister, said: “We are determined to make the UK the best place in the world for health research, development and innovation, which is why we are so proud of the NIHR BioResource project. It will become an unrivalled, world-leading  resource for health researchers.

“There’s no doubt that medical research helps save lives and volunteers on this scheme will make a real difference to the health of the nation.” 

NIHR BioResource

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource is a panel of thousands of volunteers, both with and without health problems, who are willing to be approached to participate in research studies investigating the links between genes, the environment, health and disease.

Over 20 million people in the UK suffer from chronic disease. Living with a chronic disease has a major impact on a person's quality of life and on their family. At BioResource we want to understand more about the links between genes and disease and we need your help to do this.

Contact Dr John Bradley, Director
Dr Nathalie Kingston, Associate Director,
Phone 01223 761397

About Cambridge University Hospitals and the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre

Based within the most outstanding NHS and University partnerships in the country, the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres are leaders in scientific translation. They receive substantial levels of funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to translate fundamental biomedical research into clinical research that benefits patients and they are early adopters of new insights in technologies, techniques and treatments for improving health. The Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre -  coordinates the NIHR BioResource. 

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information visit the NIHR website


Media enquiries

Joann Leeding , BRC Communications Manager (R&D) 01223 349234

PR & Communications
Adrian Ient, Media Relations Manager,
Communications Department, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ
Tel: 01223 274433                   Email:



Cambridge University Hospitals is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country. As the local hospital for our community we deliver care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust