What is the Biospecimen Collection Grants?
The Biospecimen Collection Grants is a program designed to build a research asset of biospecimens to facilitate research on priority health issues affecting the NSW population.
The Biospecimen Collection Grants supports the development of collections of high quality biospecimens and associated data. The aim is to build a research asset of biospecimens for the NSW state and beyond to facilitate research on priority health issues affecting the NSW population.
The biospecimens will be collected via the statewide NSW Health Pathology network and processed and stored in the NSW Health Statewide Biobank, a $12 million state-of-the-art facility supporting world class medical research. The biospecimens will be linked to NSW Health data collections by the Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL), a dedicated data linkage centre within NSW Health. In this way each biospecimen collection is curated with data that builds over time.
The round two forms part of an ongoing state-wide biobanking strategy to standardise and harmonise biobank resources and biobanking.
The aim of the Biospecimen Collection Grants is to build research assets for NSW. The objectives are to:
- support collections that support research on priority health issues in NSW
- build NSW capacity in research that draws from linking biospecimens with administrative health data
- reduce the time from evidence generation to implementation
Round 3 grants will support two categories of collections:
- existing collections that will continue to collect biospecimen
- prospective collections, where biospecimen collection wil
Funding up to $100,000 per collection is available.
Funding will be used to support collections for up to four years, from 2022, for the following services:
- biospecimen collection, transport to NSWHSB, receipt, processing, storage;
- biospecimen retrieval, dispatch and transport from NSWHSB to researchers within NSW;
- storage of biospecimen related data
Beyond the $100,000 grant, successful applicants will also be supported for:
- storage of the biospecimen and metadata beyond the period of the grant, pending continued research utility of the collection;
- linkage of the collection to a range of NSW Health datasets listed at Appendix 2 via the CHeReL as well as additional NSW Health datasets pending detailed feasibility assessment.
Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
The Chief Investigator is NSW based
- The Chief Investigator must reside in or plan to move to NSW and must be employed by a NSW based organisation:
- local health district
- medical research institute
- non-government organisation.
At least 50% of the research team is based in NSW
- The project must be conducted in NSW and at least 50% of the team must be based in NSW. The application must demonstrate engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders (including clinicians, consumers, researchers, patients, and/or policy makers).
Collection cannot be already funded by this grant
- The application must describe a collection that has not already been funded by the Biospecimen Collection Grant. However, the collection can come from the same cohort as one already funded.
Participants are consented using the NSW Health Consent Toolkit
- Applicants must consent participants with the consent materials in the Toolkit. Where the collection is unable to use the exact wording in these consent materials (eg. existing collection that has already consented participants), applicants should explain why, and seek permission from the Ministry of Health. These collections must still adhere to the consent principles in the Toolkit.
Agree to the collection becoming accessible to researchers
- Applicants must agree to their collection becoming accessible to researchers as described in the NSWHSB Access Policy. Applicants must indicate a reasonable milestone at which point their collection will become accessible. The milestone can be a timepoint or measure or a combination of measures (eg. 12 months after the completion of the collection). We encourage you to discuss the milestone with the NSWHSB.
Agree to linkage of the collection to the Biospecimen Linked Standard Data Asset
- To facilitate future research, applicants must agree to the linkage of their collection to the Biospecimen Linked Standard Data Asset (BLSDA). This includes agreeing to provide the CHeReL with sufficient personal information about their participants to enable this linkage. Applicants must also indicate a reasonable milestone at which point the requiredinformation has been provided for data linkage. We encourage you to discuss this milestone with the CHeReL. Information about BSLDA is at Appendix 2.
- The NSWHSB and CHeReL have assessed the application as feasible.
Submit a complete application
- The application form must be fully completed with all relevant and required documentation attached including Letters of Support from the NSWHSB and CHeReL and a NSWHSB quote. The declarations on the form must be signed.
- The application must provide a clear governance structure for the project which must include the Chief Executive (or equivalent) or delegate of the host organisation.
Australian citizen, permanent residency status or appropriate visa
- The Chief Investigator must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or have an appropriate working visa for the full-term of the Grant. Chief Investigators who are neither Australian citizens nor permanent residents must provide evidence of residency status, and the right to remain in Australia for the duration of the funding period, certified by a Justice of the Peace or equivalent. Note that for electronic documents, an official Visa Entitlement Verification Online statement is sufficient, Justice of the Peace certification is not required. Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents are not required to provide evidence.
Applications close 30 January 2022.
Round 2 Recipients
The following lists of collections received funding in round two of the Biospecimen Collection Grants scheme.
- Melanoma Institute Australia Biospecimen Bank – External Collections – Professor Richard Scolye (Melanoma Institute Australia): This collection will supplement the main collection of the MIA Biospecimen Bank, allowing research into rare melanoma and skin cancer subtypes by NSW researchers in collaboration with national and international colleagues.
- Sydney Brain Tumour Bank and GlioNET Observational study, Westmead site – Dr Winny Varikatt (NSW Health Pathology): This project will create a unique, open-access platform for research to improve brain cancer patient survival.
- Glomerular Disease Registry and Biobank (GRIT) – Dr Sradha Kotwal (The George Institute for Global Health): The Glomerular Disease Registry and Biobank (GRIT) will facilitate the discovery of potential genetic markers and novel therapeutic options for patients with glomerular diseases.
- NSW HEARTS: The NSW Inherited Cardiomyopathy Cohort Study – Associate Professor Jodie Ingles (Centenary Institute): Building biospecimen collections from patients enrolled in the NHMRC-funded NSW Inherited Cardiomyopathy Study for ongoing research.
- A Head and Neck Cancer Biobank for Discovery and Development of Novel Head and Neck Cancer Biomarkers and Therapies – Associate Professor Ruta Gupta (NSW Health Pathology): Expanding the collection of Head and Neck Cancer Biobank for Discovery and Development of Novel Head and Neck Cancer Biomarkers and Therapies.
- The BioHEART Cohort – Professor Gemma Figtree (Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney): BioHEART is a study of people with, or at risk for, heart disease. The BioHEART Biobank seeks to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease through state-of-the-art scientific analyses of blood samples, imaging studies, and health data.
Round 1 Recipients
The following lists of collections received funding in round one of the Biospecimen Collection Grants scheme.
- Sydney Sleep Biobank – Professor Peter Cistulli (Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney): The purpose of the Sydney Sleep Biobank (SSB) is to create a research platform that can support a diverse range of research initiatives to better understand sleep health and its link to chronic diseases, leading to advances in Precision Sleep Medicine.
- Serum biobanks for infectious diseases studies – Professor Dominic Dwyer (NSWHP-ICPMR, Westmead Hospital): The Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Laboratory Services (at the NSWHP-ICPMR, Westmead) in conjunction with The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network), has collected a series of population, age and location matched serum biobanks since 1996. Samples are used to determine immunity or past infection to a range of vaccine preventable diseases.
- Translational Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (TR-ANZGOG) – Professor Anna de Fazio (Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG)): A strategic goal of the Australia and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology clinical trials group, ANZGOG, is to build capacity for translational research by supporting the collection of biospecimens associated with allANZGOG trials. This grant will support collection of biospecimens from NSW Health Pathology (NSWHP) centres, biospecimen processing, storage and dissemination to maximize the use of biospecimens through research.
- The BioHEART Cohort – Professor Gemma Figtree (Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney): This grant will support the extension of this from the ~1500 subjects currently recruited under the protocol, to ~7000, and will facilitate the discovery of new mechanisms and markers of both coronary disease susceptibility, as well as resilience using state-of-the artmetabolomics/proteomics/genomics.
- 45 and Up Bipolar Disorder Substudy – Dr Janice Fullerton (UNSW, Neuroscience Research Australia): The 45 and Up Study cohort, comprising over 267,000 Australians, offers a unique opportunity to leverage detailed health records spanning 15 years via data linkage, combined with cutting edge genomics data and blood biomarker analysis.
- NSW Pathogen Biobank – Professor Jonathan Iredell (NSW Health Pathology): This application represents a consortium of clinicians and researchers from NSW Health Pathology, WSLHD and Westmead Institute for Medical Research aiming to integrate the existing microbial collections to create a state-wide dedicated repository with a standardised governance as basis for diagnostics, epidemiology and research of human microbial pathogens, bio-surveillance and biosecurity, an under-researched area.
- NSW Brainclot Bank – Dr Sonu Bhaskar and Professor Murray Killingsworth (Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research): Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Australia. The provision of this grant will establish an Australia-first NSW-wide brain clot bank that would allow improved diagnostic pathways and opportunities for research in stroke patients. Brain clots retrieved after mechanical procedures will be collected as part of the clot bank.
- The Australian Arthritis and Autoimmune Biobank Collaborative (A3BC) – Professor Lyn March (University of Sydney): This A3BC is a network of scientists & doctors for improving treatments and outcomes for people living with arthritic and autoimmune conditions and ultimately finding ways to prevent and cure them.
- Embedding Research (and Evidence) in Cancer Healthcare -EnRICH – Professor John Simes (Sydney Catalyst Translational Cancer Research Centre, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney): The Sydney Catalyst ‘Embedding Research (and Evidence) in Cancer Healthcare – EnRICH’ program is a prospective clinical cohort of 1000 patients with lung cancer. The program is capturing diagnostic tumour specimens and serial blood samples for molecular and biomarker studies, with matched demographic, clinical and outcome data.
- Cystic Fibrosis Biological Specimens – Professor Peter Wark (Centre for Healthy Lungs, Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle): This proposal will collect blood, sputum and tissue from all the CF clinics in NSW, during the introduction of these drugs. Clinical data is already captured on a national data registry the Australian CF data registry. This will then be a powerful tool to better understand disease progression in CF and assess the impact of novel treatments and determine in whom they work best.