Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© The Author(s) 2014. To understand the causes of disease and improve diagnosis and treatment regimes, biomedical researchers need access to large numbers of well-characterized data and samples. Over the past decade, biobanks have been established across Europe to collect and manage access to data and samples. The challenge that we face is how to develop the tools and collaborations to enable researchers to access samples and data from a network of biobanks, rather than applying to individual biobanks. One of the perceived stumbling blocks to achieving this is represented by the different legal requirements in each country. The aim of the BioSHaRE-European Union (EU) project is to address these challenges by developing tools and methods for researchers to access and use pooled data from different cohort and biobank studies. The purpose of this article is to identify and compare the key legal requirements regarding research use of data across biobanks based in Finland Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK. Our investigation starts with the analysis of the key differences for the use of data between these countries. As a result, we identified three key areas where legal requirements differ across the five BioSHaRE-EU jurisdictions, namely, in the definition of personal data, the requirements regarding pseudonymization and processing for medical research purposes. This article provides an overview of these differences and describes them in the light of the proposed EU regulation on data protection.

Original publication




Journal article


Medical Law International

Publication Date





187 - 212