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How to apply for FMC samples and related data research

General terms of access to Biobank Borealis samples and data

Any researcher who needs access to samples and registry-derived data shall according to Finnish Biobank Act §26 & §27 send a written request to the owner of the FMC samples and data, the Biobank Borealis (  Access can be granted to research plans that pursue high scientific quality and impact, are performed in an ethical manner by reputable researchers with an established scientific record and the material requested is available for sharing.

The application shall include:

  • Full name of the researcher/researchers
  • Affiliation and scientific qualifications of the principle investigator
  • List of the researchers involved in the project
  • Research plan:
    • Timetable and funding
    • Ethical aspects of the project
    • Short public description of the project and requested samples and data

Biobank Request Form (In English) to or by mail directly to the Biobank.

Request for Samples - other account for ethical evaluation

The Scientific Steering Committee will evaluate all sample and data requests once a month. The Scientific Steering Committee evaluates especially the scientific level and ethics of the research, the amount of material requested, criteria for selecting the samples and the resources of the research project. Main criteria for approval of research project is that the Material requested is available for sharing, the project proposal does not overlap with on-going projects and the requested data and analysis plan do not compromise the confidentiality of sample donors. Based on the commitment of the Scientific Steering Committee, the response of the sample request is decided and signed by the Director of the Biobank Borealis. Following a positive decision the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is concluded between Biobank Borealis and the scientific institutes or organizations involved in the project. 

Specific principles of register based research, step by step instructions

Scientific research based on the use of FMC samples typically includes data derived from the Finnish Health Registers (Gissler & Surcel, Statistical J JAOS 28, 2012; 53-58). The study approval is bound to a careful evaluation by the ethical and Data Protection Ombudsman and the final data provided for research project shall be coded in unidentifiable form. The data provided for the research project may not be used for any other purposes than described in the study plan agreed with Biobank Borealis, or share the data with any other party without a written approval of Biobank Borealis.

In purpose to assist the scientific research Biobank Borealis supports research collaboration with national and international research groups providing the following services for researchers: 

Administrative services such as preparation of ethical or register approval applications, project-specific register data requests, selection of subjects based on the criteria expressed in the study plan, data management and linkage of the register data with the FMC data.  In order to estimate the cost for your specific project, please contact Biobank Borealis.

Summary for an application for access and conduct a study project using FMC samples and data:

  1. Contact Biobank Borealis for preliminary request of sample availability to the study plan in question.
  2. Send the study plan to Biobank Borealis.
  3. Apply of licences needed: ethical and register research approvals (if applicable).
  4. Checking sample and data availability
  5. An unidentifiable study code is established to each subject by the database administrator at FMC and the code is saved according to the security instructions by Biobank Borealis.
  6. A final list of subjects included in the laboratory analyses of the study is constructed by the researcher.
  7. The database administrator at biobank Borealis identifies the available FMC samples of the selected subjects and constructs the sample code list to be retrieved for the study. 
  8. The coded FMC samples are handed over to the laboratory.  After analyses, the laboratory results are returned to the database administrator at who combines the results with the study database and recodes the subjects into a final research database.
  9. The research database is handed over to the researcher for analyses.

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