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Biorepositories and Tissue Services

The network of NRS Biorepositories provides researchers with efficient access to a wide range of high-quality and well-characterised tissue from across NHS Scotland for use in research.

The NHS is a major source of tissue including surplus material from diagnostic specimens and surgical procedures and the biorepositories provide managed access, following the appropriate governance requirements, to these existing collections or can facilitate the collection of the required material including:

  • Pathology archive samples
  • Surplus diagnostic samples - such as blood, urine or other bodily fluids
  • Surplus diagnostic or surgical tissue
  • Bespoke collections of tissue from NHS Scotland patients may have been/or can be collected as part of cohort studies or clinical trials.

"Small samples of surplus tissue and other specimens are donated by consenting patients who have undergone surgery or other more minor medical procedures during the course of investigations and treatment. Such samples are vital for medical researchers seeking to improve the detection and treatment of many different diseases as well as advance our understanding of how and why they arise."

The NRS Biorepositories work as a network providing streamlined access to tissue with a single point of contact, single application process and single approval process for access to tissue from across the network.

This national approach is designed to encourage the use of tissue in research and boost the availability of tissue, ending the need for researchers to source tissue from more than one Board.

The nodal biorepositories and their operation as a network is supported by NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office of Scottish Government.


Central point of contact for the network

The four regional NRS biorepositories are:

North Node:
NHS Grampian
01224 550928

South Node:
NHS Lothian
0131 4655456 

East Node:
NHS Tayside
01382 383274

West Node:
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
0141 354 9490

These biorepositories are accredited to oversee the governance of the collection, storage and release of biological materials obtained from fully informed, consenting patients for the use in medical scientific research.

Tissue available for Researchers

Each of the four bio-repositories has a register of previously built up tissue collections that are available for new research proposals and have established pathways for the collection of new samples. CSO has also funded several national collections of tissue that will be of interest to researchers.

Process and Costs

Every project has individual requirements, including patient inclusion and exclusion criteria, tissue processing, services and data, therefore, an individual quotation shall be sent out based on your specific requirements.

All applicants whether commercial or academic should ensure that projects can be funded whether by sponsor, institution, grant or NIHR based funding.

Please contact the biorepository manager at the earliest opportunity to discuss your project requirements and to receive an individual quotation.