Lifelines, the databank and biobank that collects information on the health of three generations of residents in the Northern Netherlands during thirty years, starts its third cohort study amongst its participants in 2019. This study is made possible by the Ministery of Health, the University of Groningen, the UMCG and the Provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. This shared effort reflects the importance of Lifelines for public health, science and economy.
The University Medical Center Groningen started the databank and biobank, that traces the health of 167.000 voluntary participants from the Northern Netherlands in 2006. The progress of the largest health study in the Netherlands was uncertain because the first 106 milion euros of subsidy ran out.
There was no money available for the third cohort study. After the second round, the organisation cut down on staff, and closed three research locations in the three provinces. Lifelines continued on a low flame; the biobank was maintained en remained available for scientific research.
After an intensive lobby, the project received money from the Ministery of Health and the northern provinces. In a letter to the parliament, the State Secretary Paul Blokhuis writes that he will give four milion euro per year the upcoming five years to Lifelines. The UG and the UMCG pay three milion per year, and the three northern provinces contribute one milion euro per year.
"At Lifelines itself, and here in the UMCG, the champagne flowed", according to a releived Jos Aarsten, chairman of the board of the UMCG. It was a long and intensive journey to make this funding happen."
Knowledge and jobs
According to research done by Buck Consultants, Lifelines creates employment, not just at the biobank itself, but also at other companies in the North. Several hundred jobs in fact. Besides that, about 250 scientific publications and 450 research applications have been done on the basis of Lifelines.
"We receive requests from researchers from all over the world, and Lifelines makes an immense contribution to the scientific climate in the Northern Netherlands. We are the fastest growing Campus in the Netherlands for a very good reason."
Sources: DvhN and UMCG