September 29, 2014
European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs) were introduced under EU law in 2009 as legal frameworks to foster research between member states in efforts to become more competitive on a global scale. The Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure-European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC) was awarded legal status in December 2013, allowing it to pool resources into a pan-European structure to share biological collections and conduct collaborative research.
As explained by Reichel et al. in a letter to the European Journal of Human Genetics, Member States forming an ERIC are required to implement EU law governing ERICs. Within this legal framework, ERIC members must adopt the host country’s legislation concerning administration and certain operations. Each ERIC member must further respect its national laws to conduct research and develop biobanking activities. Despite this complex legal framework, the authors believe ERICs will promote the development of common standards for long term research across Europe. BBMRI-ERIC should eventually gain sufficient momentum to influence further biobanking-related policy decisions.