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 2 will support two categories of collections:

  • existing, but still collecting biospecimens and data
  • prospective, where biospecimen collection has not yet started.



Funding up to $100,000 per collection is available and will be paid directly to NSWHSB.


Eligible Projects

Funding will be used to support collections for up to four years, from 2020, for the following services:

  • biospecimen collection, transport to NSWHSB, receipt, processing, storage;
  • biospecimen retrieval, dispatch and transport to researchers within NSW;
  • storage of biospecimen related data in the NSWHSB Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

Beyond the $100,000 grant, successful applicants will also be supported for:

  • storage of the biospecimen and metadata beyond the period of the grant, pendingcontinued 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.


Eligible Applicants

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
    • university
    • 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.

Feasibility Assessment

  • 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 evidenc