Participation in the BioResource: Biobanking and value in the changing NHS.

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The National Institute for Health Research BioResource is not a typical biobank. It banks biological samples and other data, but also volunteer commitment to potential future research participation. Researchers can then, using the BioResource as an intermediary, invite volunteers who meet specific genotypic or phenotypic criteria to participate in studies. Using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with those involved in recruiting new and engaging existing volunteers, this paper explores how participation is understood and cultivated, and how (bio)value is produced in routine BioResource work. We contribute insights into a different configuration of biosocial participation where the engaged individual, as opposed to biological sample, is the site of value. Foregrounding the often ignored work of biobank staff, we demonstrate the iterative and reflexive way value is created and maintained through staff activity, and the different way actors make sense of the site and stability of this value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-108
JournalTecnoscienza: Italian Journal of Science and Technology Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • participation
  • biobank
  • biovalue
  • NHS
  • labour
  • health research infrastructures
  • value


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