The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) wins UK Biobank of the Year 2018

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) wins UK Biobank of the Year 2018

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) have been awarded UK Biobank of the year 2018! Now in its 3rd year, the awards were presented at UK Biobanking Showcase on the 27th November in London. The Cure ME Biobank were given an honourable mention as runner up.

“A world-leading birth cohort study”

ALSAPC began in 1991, recruiting pregnant woman in the Bristol area and following them, their children and partners ever since. Since the start of the study 1800 scientific papers have been published using data gathered from ALSPAC, over half using data generated from samples in the biobank.

Of the award Head of Laboratories Susan Ring said “Children of the 90s is a truly unique resource leading to a huge range of improvements to our health and wellbeing.  The award recognises the quality of our samples and the worldwide research it enables.

Sue Ring and Phil Quinlan posing with award and certificate
Sue Ring (ALSPAC) poses with Phil Quinlan after ALSPAC being announced as the winner of the Biobank of the Year Award 2018

“At the University of Bristol we have a dedicated team who collect, process and store thousands of biological samples and a vast amount of data for the international scientific community. I would particularly like to thank the study families for who have donated the samples and provided data time and time again to help us make this huge collection the important resource it is today.”

Recognising impact

Biobanks can struggle to get recognised for their contribution to the research process. The award is intended to recognise this invaluable contribution. UK Biobanks could nominate themselves by submitting two research case studies detailing how their work has enabled high impact research. The panel of judges merited nominees based on the impact of the research and the role of the resource in the research. Other factors such as the engagement the resource has with external stakeholders was also assessed. One of ALSPACs case studies was about levels of iodine during pregnancy influencing children’s IQ and reading ability.

On behalf of the award selection panel, UKCRC TDCC Steering committee chair Amanda Gibbon said: “We were extremely impressed with this outstanding biobank.  In addition to an extensive holding of samples it offers a rich repository of data, giving researchers access to a depth of information which goes beyond the clinical and is drawn from social records such as educational and criminal data.  We also commended the biobank on its commitment to outreach work.  They have worked hard to involve their participants and this has no doubt contributed to their success in recruiting the next generation of participants in the biobank’s work. Engagement with other stakeholders such as researchers was also very clear and of a high standard. All in all, a superb application that really fulfilled the award criteria.”

A small, but mighty, alumni

Matthew McLoughlin presented the award to ALSPAC, on behalf of, who were sponsoring this year’s award.

The Cure ME Biobank, which is based at LSHTM, was awarded an honorable mention by the panel. This resource has only been running since 2011 but has shown significant research value and excellent patient engagement with the community.

ALSPAC now join a small club of three previous winners including Ethical Tissue (2016) and Bloodwise Childhood Leukeamia Cell Bank (2017). Anne Thomson attended the event on behalf of CLCB, last year’s winners and outlined what the award had meant to them. If you’re keen to join the club keep your eyes open for the applications to open next year!

Eliana Collects the prize

The UK Biobank of the year award is presented at UK Biobanking Showcase, the annual meeting of the UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre. Find out more about the previous awards in 2017 and 2016.

The entries

Applicants were asked to supply up to two case studies of research they have supported. View the panel’s favourite for each applicant: