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Biobanking Education
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CTRNet Biobank Education (tumor focused) and International Biobank Education (non-specific focus)

When: Available online year-round
Where: University of British Columbia, Office of Biobank Education and Research (OBER)
Contact: Peter Watson

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ISBER Endorses the following two courses, sponsored by the University of British Columbia, Office of Biobank Education and Research (OBER) and Canadian Tumor Repository Network (CTRNet):

CTRNet Biobank Education (Tumor Focused)

International Biobank Education (Non-specific Focus)

The instruction is delivered online for these two courses, and the educational material is available anytime at the links provided above. Support for individuals taking the International Biobanking Education modules is available through the OBER Biobank Resource Center (BRC) and can be accessed at

Course Overview:

CTRNet and OBER have focused on the establishment and deployment of common standards to harmonize biospecimen quality. Certification programs to communicate these standards are coupled with these education programs which focus on the rationale and foundations underlying these standards. The CTRNet Biobank Education course was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Institute for Cancer Research, and focuses on tumor biobanking. The CTRNet content was modified with input from international biobanking experts from Canada, Australia and the United States to be applicable to all types of biobanks and to reflect regional terms, laws, and guidelines. Future versions of the International Biobank Education course will include additional regions. These comprehensive courses, which reflect internationally recognized best practices (e.g., ISBER Best Practices for Repositories), cover all aspects of human biobanking and are applicable to all types of biobanks. These courses are available online and comprised of an overview "Basics Biobanking" module and eight specialized modules that address all operational areas of biobanking (see list of modules below).

Course Objectives:

  1. To communicate best practice standards through education of biobank personnel, researchers, clinicians and trainees.
  2. To provide comprehensive principle-based education applicable to new and existing biobanks (tumor and non-tumor).
  3. To enhance research quality and public confidence in biobanks.


  1. The course will provide the learner with a general overview of the key steps in establishing, maintaining, and using a biobank. The overall objective of the educational program is to orient the learner to standard biobank terminology, describe principles related to the optimal handling of human biospecimens and provide information on acceptable practices and standards in biobanking.
  2. A certificate of completion is offered upon completion of the CTRNet Biobank Education course. A record of completion is offered upon completion of the International Biobank Education Course.

Course Outline:

The OBER/CTRNet Biobank Education courses are available online and are comprised of an introductory overview module and eight specialty modules, entitled:

  1. Introduction to Biobanking
  2. Governance
  3. Ethics, Privacy and Security
  4. Facilities, Design and Safety
  5. Quality Management and Process Improvement
  6. Informed Consent
  7. Biospecimen Collection and Processing
  8. Biospecimen Storage and Retrieval
  9. Data Systems and Records Management

The introductory module takes 2-3 hours to complete. The specialty modules each take between 1 and 1.5 hours to complete.

The module Introduction to Biobanking starts and ends with a set of questions (the same set of questions) where the learner can compare their knowledge before and after completing the module.  These questions will also be used by CTRNet and OBER to evaluate the content in the module as part of the continuous improvement plan.

All modules contain ‘test yourself’ questions where the learner is asked questions to test their knowledge in the module.  The learner can take the test as many times as they wish.

Eligible Audience:

The courses are open to all interested parties. The intended audience includes researchers, students in applied and basic health sciences training programs (undergraduate, graduate,and  medical residents), laboratory staff (e.g., medical laboratory technicians, histotechnologists, pathology assistants), biobank staff (biobank and consent coordinators/nurses, database technicians), ethics review board members, research funders, biobank participants, patient advocacy groups, and industry members.


To register for one or both of the courses being offered, please click on the links at the top of the page.

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