Cohort and Biobank Coordination Hub: Active support in cohort and biobank research

With more than 175 different cohorts and biobanks today, the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) has decades of experience with longitudinal cohort and biobank research. What makes Groningen such a good place for this? It is not only the proximity of Lifelines, the largest population cohort of the Netherlands, but also the close relationship between research and healthcare provision and our commitment to collaboration.

In 2021, the UMCG launched the Cohort and Biobank Coordination Hub (CBCH), to further strengthen cohort and biobank research. The hub serves as a linking pin and knowledge center for all our cohort activities.   

Facilitating researchers in finding the right samples and data  

The mission of the CBCH is to work together with all cohorts, researchers and other parties to provide support, improve quality and, increase internal and external visibility of UMCG cohorts and biobanks; all to promote collaborations.   

An example of a project in which the CBCH has been involved from the beginning is the UMCG Research Data Catalogue. The UMCG wants to make its data and samples FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. The new meta-data catalogue plays an important role in improving the findability and accessibility of data sources. Currently, researchers can find our cohorts and biobanks in the catalogue. In the future, these will be supplemented with data from studies and other sources.

Communication and visibility   

The CBCH wants to raise awareness of cohorts and biobanks, both inside and outside the UMCG. In doing so, we support cohorts and biobanks in developing communication tools such as their own webpage, infographics and videos. News about publications, events, research results and other news items are shared weekly through the CBCH-Linkedin.  

‘’Our cohorts create real impact, for both science and society. We try to show this value to a broader adience. By helping cohorts tell their stories.’’ - Rogier van der Stijl, Projectmanager CBCH 

Sector plan: Accelerating Healthcare

In line with the approved Medicine and Health Sciences Sector Plan 'Accelerating Health' by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the CBCH has been allocated sector plan funds for the next six years (2023-2028). This funding ensures a great continuity of activities and provides a solid foundation for the strategic initiatives.  

Use case: Rehablines

''About one and a half years ago, we, the project team of Rehablines, set out to delve deeper into the valuable data generated in everyday care for better research and better and more personal rehabilitation care. Our collaboration with CBCH played a crucial role in swiftly establishing Rehablines. Thanks to CBCH, we precisely determined the cohort that suited our needs, significantly boosting our chances of success through their materials and support and making the entire process more efficient. This collaboration spurred the early launch of Rehablines, a substantial databank for the Center of Rehabilitation!''

''The responsive approach and clear guidance from the CBCH team were key to shaping the success of Rehablines. CBCH's accessibility and straightforward communication were pivotal in overcoming challenges, making the intricate process seem more manageable. Moreover, they are at the heart of an extensive cohort data and biobank network, to which they granted us access. CBCH not only delivered a service but became a vital partner in our journey, showcasing the true essence of collaborative support.''
André Bergsma project leader of Rehablines

UMCG Cohort Symposium

On 28 March 2024, the UMCG is organising the UMCG Cohort Symposium 'Collaborate for impact.' The CBCH plays an important part in the organisation and has put together an inspiring programme for the day. The symposium will focus on the impact of cohorts and biobanks on patients and society and on how we can continue to enhance this impact through collaboration. The programme consists of a mix of use cases, knowledge sessions and interactive workshops covering topics related to both public-private and regional collaboration, as well as sharing samples and data. 

Sector plan: Accelerating Healthcare

Sector plan: Accelerating Healthcare

Since 2022, UMCG has received significant funding from the national sector plan for Medical and Health Sciences. This investment is aimed at strengthening the foundations of scientific research and education by, among other things, creating additional jobs and permanent appointments. Together with other UMCs and partners in the region, the UMCG contributes significantly to crucial themes, such as prevention and translating (fundamental) research into practical applications. UMCG also stimulates data-driven innovation, with the aim of responding effectively to challenges within healthcare.