NSW Health and Medical Research

Biospecimen Collection Grants

These Grants enable researchers to develop collections of high quality biospecimens and associated data.

The Biospecimen Collection Grants support 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 to facilitate research on priority health issues affecting the NSW population.

The biospecimens are 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 are 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.

Applications for this funding have now closed.

Funded collections: round three

The following lists of collections received funding in round three of the Biospecimen Collection Grants scheme.

  • Collection
  • Recipient
  • Organisation

Funded collections: round two

The following lists of collections received funding in round two of the Biospecimen Collection Grants scheme.

  • Collection
  • Recipient
  • Organisation

Funded collections: round one

The following lists of collections received funding in round one of the Biospecimen Collection Grants scheme.

  • Collection
  • Recipient
  • Organisation




More information

The Grants can be used over a fouryear period for:

  • biospecimen collection, transport to NSW Health Statewide Biobank, receipt, processing and storage
  • biospecimen retrieval, dispatch and transport to the researcher
  • storage of biospecimen related data.

Successful collections will also be covered for the following, outside of the grant:

  • data linkage to NSW Health data and access to that data CHeReL
  • storage of the collection in the NSW Health Statewide Biobank beyond the four year term of this grant, pending continued relevance and utility.

Collection Strategy

The Collection Strategy will provide an overview of collections that will be supported and banked by the NSW Health Statewide Biobank (NSWHSB) in its first four years of operation (2018 to 2022). It establishes NSWHSB collection priorities and requirements to ensure that the NSWHSB supports high value research. It covers the process for banking biospecimens and managing data for different collection categories including collection, processing and storage elements. The Collection Strategy can be accessed at: biobank.health.nsw.gov.au/information-for-researchers/collection-strategy/

For further information on Biospecimen Collection Grants contact the Office for Health and Medical Research at: MOH-OHMRGrants@health.nsw.gov.au

For queries regarding biobanking services available at the NSW Health Statewide Biobank contact 02 4920 4140 or NSWPATH-Biobanking@health.nsw.gov.au

For queries regarding data linkage services available from the Centre for Health Record Linkage contact 02 9391 9924 or MOH-cherel@health.nsw.gov.au

Frequently asked questions: round three

The third round of the Biospecimens Collection Grants closed on 30 January 2022 and expressions of interest were due on 30 November 2021.

The program is designed to build a statewide asset of biospecimens to facilitate research on priority health issues affecting the NSW population. The grants will support high quality collections that will be stored in the NSW Health Statewide Biobank and linked to NSW Health data.

Up to $800,000 was available for grants up to $100,000 over four years.

Application details for round three:

  • Biospecimen Collection Grants Round Three Application Form

    DOCX - 77 KB

Information sessions

Information sessions were held on 16 and 18 November 2021. The presentation slides can be downloaded by clicking on the items below.

Biospecimen Collection Grant Round 3 November 2021

NSW Health Statewide Biobank

Biolink: powering biospecimen research through data linkage

Completing EOIs

What is the deadline for submitting my EOIs?

Both the NSWHB and CHeReL Data Linkage EOI must be received by 30 November 2021.

Where do I complete the EOI?

A PDF Form for each of NSWHSB and CHeReL Data Linkage EOIs is included in the Guidelines (see Appendices 1 and 2), you must complete and submit both forms by 30 November 2021. Each EOI must be submitted by email to NSWHSB or CHeReL using the email address on the form.

Please note: If you downloaded the guideline before 24/11/2021 the ‘Form’ functionality will not work, please download a new copy of the guideline here: https://www.medicalresearch.nsw.gov.au/biospecimen-collections/

Do I need to complete both the NSWHSB Biobanking and the CHeReL Data Linkage EOI forms?

Yes. Both forms are compulsory, the Biospecimen Collection Grant is for collection of biospecimens with linked data.

Budgeting and Financial

What does the grant cover? Is the “cost to collect samples” used to pay for time for staff to take the sample, ship, prepare etc. and does it cover costs to store in the Biobank?

This grant does not pay salaries for staff. Further information on what is and is not funded can be found in Appendices 3, 4 and 5 of the Guidelines see https://www.medicalresearch.nsw.gov.au/biospecimen-collections/

Can I still apply if I’ve been successful in securing a previous grant?

Yes, however the funding requested in this grant must be for the collection of additional specimens.

Will retrieving my specimens from the NSWHSB cost me?

The grant funds can be used to cover retrieval costs. Retrieval costs are dependent on the type and number of samples retrieved.  Recipients are not charged for storage costs for the period of the grant.

How do I budget for the biospecimen collection and storage? Is there a guide on the cost of biobanking?

The NSWHSB will provide a quote. Contributions from the host and other organisations for the collection and flagship research should also be outlined.


Are there any research areas or specimen types being prioritised for successful grants?

No, but you must articulate how your collection addresses a priority health issue for the state and is unique.

Are there standard operating procedures (SOPs) for sample collection?

Yes, NSWHSB please contact the NSWHSB to discuss https://biobank.health.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/

What kind of biospecimens are eligible?

The NSWHSB can process and store blood, urine, paraffin embedded tissue, tissue micro arrays, DNA and RNA. Other specimen types may also be possible, please contact the NSWHSB for further information https://biobank.health.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/


Who will be the custodian of data once the grant is obtained?

Data custodianship varies according to the source and type of data. Appendix 3 of the Guideline document provides detailed information about the different data types. For further information please discuss with the CHeReL https://www.cherel.org.au/contact-us

What kind of data can I link my specimens to?

Funded specimens can be linked to a vast array of population and health data, for example, hospitalisation, cancer registration, death registrations, as well as some boutique data sets if all the approvals are in place. For further information please check the CHeReL website https://www.cherel.org.au/datasets and https://www.cherel.org.au/apply


What is BLSDA and do I have to link my collection to it?

Linking your specimens to BLSDA annotates your specimens with data and is an eligibility criterion of the grant. BLSDA stands for Biospecimen Linked Standard Data Asset, it consists of core minimum health data sets such as hospitalisation data which will be linked to your biospecimens and periodically updated. BLSDA simplifies the biospecimen user’s access to New South Wales linked health data.

Existing Collections

We are seeking funding to continue building an existing collection of specimens, if we are successful in obtaining a grant do we have to move the existing samples to the NSWHSB?

The funded portion of the collection must be stored in the NSWHSB which can include the existing collection and newly collected specimens. Data linkage service included in the grant is for samples housed at the Biobank. Linking data to the unfunded portion of the collection which is housed elsewhere will incur a cost.

Will the grant cover rehousing an existing collection in NSWHSB if we do not have plans for ongoing research using the collection?

No, the purpose of this grant is to fund collection, processing and data linkage of samples for use in your flagship research project.


Will I need to submit multiple ethics applications if I am successful? Is ethics approval needed before I apply?

The grant funded specimens and data linkage require a single ethics application to the NSW Population and Health Services Research Ethics Committee which can be submitted after notification of your successful grant application. Any approvals for the flagship research project are a separate matter.

Updated 2 years ago