Scientific Calls


BBMRI-LPC will help initiate and support research projects conducted across multiple large prospective cohorts (LPC) within Europe. This is a unique opportunity for European scientists to gain access to the unique collections of data and biospecimens from high quality cohorts and carry out high priority research projects.


Second call

2nd call for proposals opens in March 2015. More information about the call available soon!



First call (Ended July 31st, 2014)

1st Call for Proposals:

Transnational Access to Large Prospective Cohorts in Europe


The BBMRI-LPC project (Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure – Large Prospective Cohorts) brings together large prospective cohort studies across Europe to facilitate collaborative transnational research project. This initial call for research proposals will provide free access to samples and exposure data for selected research projects. The BBMRI-LPC project constitutes a large network of 20 European cohort studies, involving over 1 million study participants with lifestyle information and biospecimen collected at baseline. Detailed information on the participating cohorts and the available resources are described in the BBMRI-LPC catalogue (Login as Guest).


Request for information
In order to approximate the number of expected study proposals, could you kindly let us know about your intention to apply and your name by sending a non-mandatory e-mail to the following address:  

NOTE! This will ease the processing of the applications. We ask you to send your information even though you are not yet absolutely certain you will apply. 


The first call for proposals opens on April 15th, 2014 for a period of 3.5 months (Note! Deadline extended to July 31st, 2014).


Scope for study proposals

Study proposals should target the broad field of common chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer), and must benefit substantially by using prospective data from a pan-European study design (involving at least two cohorts). 




Support offered

BBMRI-LPC will offer free access to the research projects selected through a rigorous review process. Funding will cover support for access to biospecimen/data including:

  • Support for retrieval, preparation, quality control and shipment of samples;
  • Support for data management (e.g. registry linkage, matching of controls to index cases, retrieval of exposure and endpoint variables);
  • Support for attaining scientific review board and ethics approval at the cohort home institution.

Whilst this initial call is primarily focusing on providing free access to cohort samples and data, BBMRI-LPC will also provide limited support for metabolomics and whole-genome genotyping analyses. It is envisaged that predefined and cost-efficient assays will be used; for the metabolomics analysis a targeted platform operational at The Genome Analysis Center of Helmholtz Center in Munich; and for the GWAS analysis a genotyping array from a major industrial party covering both common and rare gene variants operational at The Welcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton. These analyses will be performed in studies where the investigators can demonstrate in the proposal that it will add a substantial value to their specific research project.

Funds will not be provided to support laboratory and statistical analysis, or harmonisation of data. Such costs have to be covered by the applicant through other sources of funding.

BBMRI-LPC will assess the data harmonisation approach proposed by the applicant in the review process. However, the actual harmonisation will be carried out by the applicant.


Eligibility and admissibility conditions

The call for proposals is open to scientists and investigators who work in an institution located in an EU Member State or Associated State.

Transnational access means that applicants cannot gain free access to biospecimen/data of cohorts of their home country, but only to cohorts from other participating countries. The exception to this rule is when an application is filed by an international consortium of researchers from several countries.


Review criteria

The criteria for evaluation of the proposals are as follows:

  • Prospective and pan-European study design: any approved project must show that the research question requires a study design where the research participants were recruited prior to the endpoint or phenotype of interest, and that the study will benefit significantly by including data from multiple European countries. Only studies fulfilling these initial criteria will be considered for support;
  • Significance: the proposed project must address an important biomedical research question;
  • Scientific excellence / Approach: the proposal must describe all methodical considerations and explain how the specific objectives of the project will be addressed and achieved. It should particularly describe the type of samples, and exposure and endpoints variables needed, as well as the proposed approach for harmonisation of data;
  • Innovation: the peer-review will favour research projects that seek to challenge existing methodological paradigms and move the field of research forward;
  • Investigators and research environment: background of the investigator and its institution will be taken into account.

Additionally, investigators are required to respect the confidentiality of research participants’, attaining relevant approval for the proposed research from applicants’ local Institutional Review Board (IRB), and disseminating the research results through international peer-reviewed scientific journals. The local IRB approval can be obtained after a specific project has been selected. 


Evaluation procedure

Access projects will be selected through a rigorous review procedure.

An independent review committee is responsible for the evaluation of the proposals.

Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the above listed criteria and in light of on-going international research. Proposals will be scored 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) in each criterion and ranked according to their sum of scores across all criteria.

Proposals evaluated positively by the review committee will be recommended for final approval to the individual cohorts whose resources are concerned by the research project. The rules of the individual cohorts for the provision of biospecimen/data, review of applications and subsequent approval will be respected.

Any individual research project considered for access support from BBMRI-LPC will be required to attain ethics clearance by the home institution of the investigator. In addition, most cohorts will require additional local ethics clearance for the proposed research.


Proposals page limit and layout

The review committee encourages concise proposals of up to five pages, including one page describing the overarching aim and specific objectives of the project (minimum: 11 point Arial, 1.5 point row distance, 0.5 inch margins).

The research proposal should be filed on the attached Biospecimen/Data Access Request Form, and sent with a Biographical Sketch of the Principal Investigator by e-mail to the following address:


Deadline for applications (First Call)

July 31st 2014, + 23:59 (CET).


Indicative timetable for evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated within 3 months of the closing date of the call for proposals.

Access to biospecimen/data and logistics will be structured in a coordinated way to enable simultaneous pick-up, aliquoting and provision of the samples as well as simultaneous data retrieval and quality control for an efficient and integrated provision to multiple external users.


Application documents

Biospecimen/Data Access Request Form

Biosketch Template

Printable version of the 1st BBMRI-LPC scientific call text



For any question on this call for proposals, please contact:





Open calls

BBMRI-LPC will support scientific research projects that have been selected through a competitive peer-review process. Approved projects will gain access to biospecimens and associated data 'free of charge', and BBMRI-LPC will achieve this by providing financial, logistical, and administrative support to the participating cohorts.
Details regarding the scientific focus and procedures for the next call will be published soon.
The first scientific call is expected to be launched in April 2014.


Who can apply?

Investigators from all EU member states (and associated states) including universities, research centers and industries can apply. The selected research projects must benefit substantially from the use of the prospective data and biospecimens collected across multiple European cohorts, and the subsequent analysis must be supported by independent funds. Support will not be provided for access to home country resources of the applicant.


Participating cohorts

BBMRI-LPC partners include 20 European prospective cohorts, and two networks of cohorts (EPIC and MORGAM). Details of these cohorts and available samples and data can be found on and

  • Access Cohorts webinar video (28 October 2013)
    This Access Cohorts webinar video was recorded during the Webinar session given to all BBMRI-LPC participating cohorts by Dr Paul Brennan from IARC on October 28th, 2013. It presents the overall aims of the BBMRI-LPC project, with a particular focus on access activities.





For further questions on access, you are welcome to contact:


Dr. Mattias Johansson
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO)
Phone: +33 (0) 4 72 73 80 23 
E-mail: JohanssonM(o) 

Lauréne Bouvard, Project Assistant
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO)
Phone: +33 (0) 4 72 73 80 08
E-mail: bouvardl(o)

Dr. Gabriele Anton
Helmholtz Zentrum München
Molecular Epidemiology - Complex Diseases
Phone: +49 89 3187-3871
E-mail: gabriele.anton(o)