Open Innovation with Large Bioresources: Goals, Challenges and Proposals

Johnathon Liddicoat, Kathleen Liddell

Research output: Working paper/PreprintDiscussion paper


This report is from a Cambridge Workshop on the openness of large bioresources in synthetic biology and genomics (e.g. the 100,000 Genomes Project), held on 28 January 2016. Research in SB and Gx depends on the use of collections of tissue and data, commonly known as bioresources. Substantial amounts of time and money are being spent on creating these bioresources and it is likely that significant scientific breakthroughs and development of end-products may be missed or delayed if the tissue and data in these resources are not shared. Accordingly, the ‘openness’ of these bioresources — in other words, the ability for other researchers to access, use, and share these resources (which is typically recorded in a bioresource’s IP and access policy) — is a key issue for the success of bioresource initiatives and the progress of SB and Gx. There are, however, many different approaches to openness, and the development and dissemination of new knowledge are not necessarily advanced by distributing material at low cost or without any restrictions; time-limited rights of control (e.g. IP rights) may provide a useful incentive. It is a significant challenge to develop a fit-for-purpose openness policy that balances the advantages (and disadvantages) of different approaches to openness. The Workshop addressed this challenge by: reviewing openness policies adopted by large bioresources; eliciting ideas about access and intellectual property; debating the applicability of different openness policies; and identifying relevant areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameUniversity of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper


  • intellectual property
  • patents
  • bioresources
  • biobanks
  • synthetic biology
  • synbio
  • genomics
  • genomic medicine
  • IP policy
  • access policy
  • openness
  • open innovation
  • open science
  • open source


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