Support for the legally compliant use of biological resources

BRAUNSCHWEIG, LOWER SAXONY, GERMANY, August 5, 2021 / — On 23 December 2020, the German Nagoya Protocol HuB (GNP HuB) project launched a new website,, which provides researchers in Germany with information on the legally compliant use of biological resources. The GNP HUB project sees itself as a contact point and source of support for academic researchers in Germany. At the same time, the GNP HuB project acts as a network for the exchange of information among researchers on the implementation of the so-called Nagoya Protocol.

Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014 of the European Parliament on measures for users to comply with the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation – the Nagoya Protocol for short – entered into force in October 2014. The implementation of the Protocol in the European Union and around the world poses major challenges for researchers, which can make it difficult to carry out individual research projects with biological material from abroad. For example, researchers must obtain specific approvals for the access and use of biological materials they wish to use in their research. Each country has its own specific procedures, regulations and responsibilities, which are associated with a high level of bureaucracy.

The goal of the GNP HuB project is to help researchers better understand their obligations arising from the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol by providing useful information. “The project is more than just an information point with well-prepared and targeted information,” explains project coordinator Elizabeth Karger. “We also catalyse the exchange of information among researchers in order to build a living network where experiences are shared and made useful for other researchers.” The GNP HuB project website, which has now been published, is being continuously developed and offers researchers an overview of best practices in dealing with the Nagoya Protocol, possible stumbling blocks, options for dealing with challenges, and best practice examples as well as tips and tricks from the field. The information is aimed at both newcomers and experienced researchers.

The project is funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The project is managed by the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH and is being carried out in close cooperation with the Consortium of German Natural Science Collections (DNFS), the Leibniz Research Alliance ‘Biodiversity’ (LVB) and the German Life Sciences Association (VBIO). “The cooperation partners come from the life sciences community, have been working intensively on questions of access and equitable benefit-sharing for many years, and have a wide range of practical experience,” says Elizabeth Karger. “With this project, we can draw on the support and expertise of the research community.”

About the Leibniz Institute DSMZ

The Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures is the world’s most diverse collection of biological resources (bacteria, archaea, protists, yeasts, fun-gi, bacteriophages, plant viruses, genomic bacterial DNA as well as human and animal cell lines). Microorganisms and cell cultures are collected, investigated and archived at the DSMZ. As an institution of the Leibniz Association, the DSMZ with its extensive scientific services and biological resources has been a global partner for research, science and industry since 1969. The DSMZ is the first registered collection in Europe (Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014) and certified according to the quality standard ISO 9001:2015. As a patent depository, it offers the only possibility in Germany to deposit biological material in accordance with the requirements of the Budapest Treaty. In addition to scientific services, research is the second pillar of the DSMZ. The institute, located on the Science Campus Braunschweig-Süd, accommodates more than 73,000 cultures and biomaterials and has 198 employees.

About the Leibniz Research Alliance ‘Biodiversity’

The Leibniz Research Alliance ‘Biodiversity’ (LVB) bundles the skills of 20 institutions from the Leibniz Association. Founded in 2008, its objective is networking and to combine the expertise and resources of these institutions for research on the environmental, economic, spatial and social significance of biodiversity. This research supports the development of solutions for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. To raise social awareness about the value of biodiversity, LVB is increasingly involved in providing environmental education and doing outreach to citizens and the wider community about the insight gained from research by the LVB members. A number of natural science research museums are members of the LVB, featuring extensive collections with more than 70 million objects.

The Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association connects 96 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 20,000 individuals, including 10,000 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1.9 billion Euros.

About the German Life Sciences Association (VBIO)

The German Life Sciences Association (VBIO e. V.) is the umbrella organisation for all those who study or work in the field of biology, biosciences and biomedicine – whether in higher education, school, industry, administration, self-employment, or research. The members of the VBIO represent the entire spectrum of the life sciences, with the focus of their work ranging from the molecular and cellular levels of life through to whole organisms and biomedicine.

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