Hungary Joins European Biobanking Research Infrastructure (BBMRI-ERIC) as Full Member

Hungary as Full Member state has joined the Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure - European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC) at its Assembly of Members, which took place virtually on 14th June 2021.

Dr István Szabó, Vice President for Science and International Affairs of National Research, Development and Innovation Office, responsible for international research infrastructure memberships in Hungary. (Credit: BBMRI-ERIC)
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Hungary will be represented by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NRDIO) and becomes the 22nd Member. intends to take part in the overall aim and activities of BBMRI-ERIC through the coordination of the Semmelweis University, hosting the Hungarian BBMRI National Node.

In the coming months, both the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Science and Semmelweis University will work with BBMRI-ERIC to set up the BBMRI National Node.

Dr István Szabó, Vice President for Science and International Affairs of National Research, Development and Innovation Office, responsible for international research infrastructure memberships in Hungary said, “I would like first to thank BBMRI-ERIC for the warm welcome of the Hungarian biobanking and biomedical community to their European family. I am proud that we have excellent research teams who collaborate world-wide and I am convinced we should further strengthen our policies and instruments in support of our bright minds and the research and innovation development in the country.

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“In 2020, with initiative from the National Research, Development and Innovation Office the four major universities (Semmelweis University, University of Szeged, University of Debrecen, University of Pécs), a healthcare provider (Central Hospital of Southern Pest) and a private sector company (Richter Gedeon Plc.) formed a consortium that would best represent Hungary when applying to BBMRI-ERIC as a National Node. The parties involved with the consortium all have significant experiences in biobanking and presently hold up to ca. 500 000 samples aggregate.

“In this Hungarian biobank network, the main focus is on the following fields: cardiovascular disorders, Oncological disorders, rare disorders (especially neurogenetic, ophthalmological and metabolic disorders and genodermatosis), neurodegenerative disorders, pancreatic disorders, haematological disorders, asthma, inflammatory bowel disorders and traumatic brain disorders, and COVID-19 infections. A large longitudinal biobank with vast amount of structured datasets and with 800 samples is dedicated to the schizophrenia research. The biobank network supported several research programs and publications. In the last five years within 116 research programs, 295 PhD students graduated, and 424 publications were published in topics related to our biobanks.

“Nowadays in the biomedical field nobody can work anymore in silos, a well-established network is the basic requirement for innovative research of high-quality. We hope that by joining BBMRI ERIC the Hungarian Node can enter the largest European biobank network and participate in international research programs, focused trainings and quality management programs.

“Joining BBMRI-ERIC, we can achieve better, more efficient treatment and recovery of patients with higher quality samples, data storage and support for biomedical research. Hungary is committed to continuing its efforts to contribute to the European Research community and our common goals.”

BBMRI-ERIC’s Director General Jens Habermann: “It is with such a great pleasure I welcome Hungary to BBMRI-ERIC. Hungarian biobanks are now connected to the world like never before. At the same time, researchers and biobankers will have access to additional knowledge, IT tools, and tailor-made guidance by BBMRI-ERIC that will support their current development.

“In this pandemic time, this is also a major milestone for European research in general and we  greatly acknowledge Hungary boosting the development of its biomedical sector”, Prof. Habermann commented.

Prof. Habermann concluded saying: “Biomedical research does not take place in a vacuum: it requires a multidisciplinary approach. That is why we are increasing our collaboration with other ERICs to ensure that, in the future, research infrastructures further excel biomedical research.”

BBMRI-ERIC now brings together more than 700 biobanks from its Members (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech, Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and United Kingdom) as one international organisation. The BBMRI-ERIC Directory, the largest sample catalogue in the world, allows users to search millions of samples online, meeting BBMRI’s main mission to facilitate access to biological samples, data and biomolecular resources.