Federated biobanking vs. centralized biobanking: What’s the difference?

Federated and centralized biobanking are often confused with one another. The two are similar, but they’re not the same. The federated model presents one major benefit. 

Federated biobanking structure

Centralized biobanking

This is exactly what it sounds like. A central facility receives, processes, stores, and distributes biosamples. This platform comes with benefits like quality control, tracking, and distribution. Trained experts use modern equipment to handle samples and follow all regulatory requirements.

BUT – principal investigators have less control of samples with centralized biobanking. This model typically has one system of organization everyone follows. This is not ideal for PIs after all the time and energy they’ve spent to secure funding.

Federated biobanking

In the federated model, everyone shares some of the same resources and tools. But the principal investigator still controls the collection. This is a big deal. Think of the PI as the CEO of samples.

Federated biobanking increases visibility of samples from biobanks at the same institution or network of institutions no matter where the samples are stored. Thanks to a virtual database that houses essential information about samples in participating labs, scientists can search and access specific ones to support their research.

Additionally, scientists OUTSIDE the institution can also request samples for their projects. However, the PI has authority to grant or deny any request. In effect, they retain a major say in how their samples are used.

Federated biobanking has origins in Europe, but it is quickly gaining traction in the US because of the benefits it brings.

When deployed successfully, a federated model for biobanking can significantly reduce acquisition costs, boost sample usage, improve sample quality, ensure timely access, and support sustainability.

So, if you’re in academic research, operating with one unified biobank – and you’re open to collaboration – federated biobanking is a good way to go. Call on Brooks Life Sciences experts to support your plan for making the transition from centralized to federated biobanking.

For more information on this topic, download Academia Discovers Federated Biobanking. Find out how this model makes for easier sample accessibility and stronger collaboration.