NIHR Sheffield BioResource Centre

The NIHR BioResource recruits and maintains data and samples donated by over 200,000 people. Researchers can use this resource to identify potential participants for studies to understand the links between genes, the environment, health and disease. The NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) hosts one of the NIHR BioResource Centres across England.

Read about our launch day here, which kicked off the centre with senior staff members becoming some of our first recruits.

What is the NIHR BioResource?

The NIHR BioResource is a national platform that brings together volunteers and researchers. Volunteers can be recruited at any one of the centres across the UK, where they consent to be approached to take part in research or for their existing data to be used for research studies. Researchers who need participants for their studies can then access the BioResource to quickly identify volunteers who fit their eligibility criteria from across the UK. Over 200,000 people with a wide range of health conditions, as well as healthy volunteers, have now signed up to the BioResource.

How does the NIHR BioResource work?


After reading information about the BioResource and given the opportunity to ask any questions, volunteers provide consent for their samples and personal information to be collected. Participants will also grant the BioResource team access to their medical records, but these will only be accessed if required for a particular study.

DNA Samples

Volunteers are asked to provide a DNA sample to the BioResource. This is usually collected via a blood sample, but in some cases saliva may be used instead. These samples are then sent for testing and storage, and genetic information is added to a national database. Samples are kept separately from personal information such as name, address and date of birth and all information is protected by national governance and ethics policies.

Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire

Volunteers complete a simple health and lifestyle questionnaire. This helps match volunteers to potential research studies. 

Researcher Requests

Researchers can then request access to the stored genetic information or the original samples for their work. Volunteers may be selected based on variations in their DNA, their health and lifestyle information, their age, their ethnicity or their gender.

Volunteer Invites

If matched, volunteers are contacted to ask if they wish to take part in the study.  Each volunteer can be invited to up to 8 studies per year, with a maximum of 4 being face-to-face. There is no obligation to take part in any study that they are invited to, and not taking part in a study will have no effect on their potential to be invited to future studies. 

NIHR Sheffield BioResource Team

Read more about the Operations Manager

Luke Barron

BioResource Centre Manager 

Elle Bickle

BioResource Project Coordinator 

Olivia Adolphus 

BioResource Nurse 

Get Involved!

Volunteers could be asked to join the BioResource by a healthcare professional, such as when attending a routine GP or hospital appointment, or you can get in touch yourself.  Anyone can join the NIHR BioResource, with or without a health condition. 

Everyone has a unique contribution to make to health research.

If you would like more information or are interested in signing up, please contact: or complete the form below