In an effort to share our biobanking expertise, we have developed a lifelong learning course in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg Competence Centre, 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 skills 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 organised as a three-week “summer camp”, taking place at the University’s Kirchberg campus right at the heart of Luxembourg City.

The curriculum is based on notions from different types of biobanks and biorepositories – clinical, human, plant, microbial and environmental. Participants will tackle 16 different modules and the curriculum includes site visits and practical demonstrations at IBBL. Tutorial-based discussions 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 will also be included in the agenda.

Participants will produce an essay which will be submitted in September as a final evaluation. This will allow them to explore a topic of choice and of interest to their organisation. The successful completion of the course will result in a 10 ECTS certificate delivered by the University of Luxembourg.

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
Laetitia HuiartLIHEpidemiology
Fay BetsouIBBLBiospecimen Science / Quality Control
Jonas AstrinBonn Zoological MuseumMuseology
Lorie CastilloIBBLMicrobiome
Jean-Pierre TrezziLuxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine – University of LuxembourgMetabolomics
Katy BeaumontIBBLBiorepository Logistics
Laurent AntunesLNSPathology
Angela HoganIBBLProject Management
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
Kathleen MommaertsIBBLStem cells
William MathiesonIBBLBiospecimen Science
Philippe VaglioModul-BioInformation technology – Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)

Student testimonials


The next edition of the course will take place from June 22 to July 10 2020 in Luxembourg.

Are expected to apply:

  • Biobank managers
  • Biobank auditors
  • Biobank technicians
  • Ethics committee members
  • Clinical researchers
  • Pathologists
  • Environmental collection curators


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent & having a background in biobanking
  • Good knowledge of English
  • As available places are limited, the final selection is carried out by a committee of representatives of both IBBL and the University of Luxembourg
  • Applications should be submitted via the University of Luxembourg registration platform starting from April 1 and by April 30 2020 at the latest
  • The University of Luxembourg Competence Center reserves the right to cancel the training if a minimum number of participants cannot be reached


  • Tuition fee: 2750 € (+3% TVA) for administrative charges (ONLY AFTER definitive agreement of the application)
  • Lectures, training material, a field trip to IBBL, as well as a networking dinner are included in the course fees
  • The University of Luxembourg Competence Centre can assist participants in finding a room in the Residency Hall at the University if necessary. For all information (on costs & location), please contact the Competence Centre.

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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