In an effort to share our biobanking expertise, we have developed a lifelong learning course in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, endorsed by ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories). The Principles of Biobanking course uniquely combines environmental and clinical principles of biobanking in one trans-disciplinary university certificate covering all technical, scientific and ethical/legal aspects.

Aims & Learning Outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide the theoretical, operational and practical knowledge required to facilitate the activities of existing biobanks and assist in the creation of new ones. It encourages exchange of knowledge and skills across different thematic groups involved in biospecimen conservation, storage, science and research.

Upon the completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Understand in depth the common principles of practical biobanking
  • Put different types of biobanks in context and draw conclusions regarding the theoretical basis of their operations
  • Apply the scientific basis of biobanking/biospecimen research in Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) development and implementation and in research exploitation of samples
  • Question the logistical, practical and technical steps of biobanking, and evaluate their coherence and adequacy
  • Compare different reports on biobank risk management and mitigation
  • Develop Best Practices/Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Validate biobank protocols, training and technology transfers
  • Analyse biobank Quality Management Systems (QMS) and the principles of certification, quality assurance and 3rd party ISO accreditation
  • Master the regulatory, legal and ethical aspects of biobanking
  • Produce biobank cost analysis and recovery reports


The course is organized in the form of an intensive three week seminar, with a written examination and a certificate from the University of Luxembourg. It incorporates site visits and practical demonstrations at IBBL, including nucleic acid extraction and characterisation, cell sorting and characterisation, progressive rate freezing, plant-algae cryopreservation and in vitro storage. In addition, it includes tutorial-based discussion sessions on the development of a Quality Assurance document (process flow, procedure, SOP), process analysis, the identification of quality indicators and the analysis of an SOP.

The comprehensive curriculum includes:

  • Foundation studies
  • The biospecimen process chain
  • Cryobiology
  • International developments
  • Practical biobanking
  • Specimen transit and shipment
  • Biobank statistics and strategies
  • IT and knowledge management
  • Risk management and mitigation
  • Impact of pre-analytical variations in research
  • Quality management systems and assurance
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Regulatory, legal and ethical aspects of biobanking
  • Systems biology
  • Cost analysis and recovery
  • Practical aspects of risk, freezers, liquid nitrogen, shipment, temperature monitoring

Teaching Staff

The course is taught by an experienced team of enthusiastic instructors representing different clinical, environmental and biodiversity conservation disciplines.

Get to know the instructors

Fay BetsouIBBLClinical Epidemiology
Dominic AllenIBBLBiobank Operations and Business Development
Evert-Ben van VeenMedLawconsultLegal & Bioethics
Fay BetsouIBBLBiospecimen Science / Quality Control
Jean-François HausmanLuxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)Plant Physiology & Molecular Biology
Jonas AstrinBonn Zoological MuseumMuseology
Jean-Pierre TrezziLuxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine – University of LuxembourgMetabolomics
Katy BeaumontIBBLBiorepository Logistics
Laurent AntunesIBBLPathology
Lucrèce BeckersIBBLInformation Technology
Marcos CastellanosUniversity of NottinghamEnvironmental Biorepository Management
Olga KofanovaIBBLCryobiology
Thomas RiedelGerman Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ)Preservation of Microorganisms
Sabine LehmannIBBLQuality Management
Sean MayUniversity of NottinghamEnvironmental Biorepository Management
Brendan MeyerBDImpact of preanalytical errors on clinical laboratory blood specimens
William MathiesonIBBLBiospecimen Science
Zoran IvanovicAquitaine-Limousin Branch of French Blood Institute (EFS-AQLI)Stem Cells

Student testimonials


The next edition of the course will take place in summer 2020. More information about the registration will follow in the coming months.

Are expected to apply:

  • Biobank managers
  • Biobank auditors
  • Biobank technicians
  • Ethics committee members
  • Clinical researchers
  • Pathologists


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent & having an interest in biobanking
  • Good knowledge of English
  • The selection will be carried out by a committee of representatives of IBBL and the University of Luxembourg
  • The course is presently designed for 35 students/year
  • Applications should be submitted via the University of Luxembourg registration platform


  • Tuition fee: 2,000 € for administrative charges (ONLY AFTER definitive agreement of the application)

Flashback on the 2017 edition

Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-74
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-72
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-60
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-57
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-75
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-52
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-67
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-50
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-8
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-16
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-26
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-25
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-24
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-48
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