Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Information for Participating Centres

BRAIN UK is a collaboration 26 NHS Neuropathology Centres across the UK, these are our 'Participating Centres'. Without the assistance of this network of Participating Centres BRAIN UK could not operate.  If you would like to find out which centres are in our network please see our Collaborators page.  This pages contain information that we think is of particular relevance to our Participating Centres.  If you cannot find what you need please feel free to contact us further.


Sometimes a researcher may choose to submit an enquiry before an application. This information could be for a grant application or it could be that they would like to check if their tissue requirements could potentially be met before submitting an application.  When a request is only at enquiry stage, the level of information required from Participating Centres is usually expected to be quite small and we will inform you of the stage of the application.

You can help us to identify tissue in three ways:

  • You can provide us with a minimal anonymised data set which allows us to search your archives and identify potentially suitable cases.  This is the preferred method as this allows us to make informed contact to the correct centres, which hopefully allows us to use your time more efficiently.
  • If we can’t find suitable tissues and we think that a centre has a particular interest in the type of samples of interest or area of research we may ask the local Neuropathology contact to organise a search for the tissue.   If you have a particular area that you would be interested in supporting or collaborating within please contact us with further details.
  • When we still cannot identify enough cases, where an applicant may require large numbers of samples or if the condition is extremely rare, we will email all Participating Centres asking if they have any potentially suitable cases or requesting further information about samples that we have identified.


BRAIN UK has a review system in place to provide researchers with ethical approval to cover their study, see the Applying section if you would like an overview of the process.  You are unlikely to have been contacted during this stage, unless we have required some information on the samples that you may hold.

Once approved, BRAIN UK will email the relevant Participating Centre/s asking if they are able to support the approved study. The email will include all of the following information: BRAIN UK approval letter, study application form, BRAIN UK terms and conditions and BRAIN UK ethics.  Irrespective of BRAIN UK approval, each centre has, of course, the right to refuse access to its archives if, for example, the samples have been allocated for a local study or if there is a conflict of interest.

Only once agreement has been reached with the Participating Centre, researchers will be put in contact with the centre directly to arrange for material transfers and invoicing. An example of a Material Transfer Agreement can be found in the BRAIN UK Form Store, should you require one. It is the responsibility of each Participating Centre and researcher to ensure that arrangements are in place to ensure the storage, use and disposal of the samples are in accordance with the Human Tissue Authority, the terms of the ethical approval and any other conditions required by the Participating Centre supplying relevant material. In addition, it is the sole responsibility of the researcher to ensure that local R&D approvals have also been attained prior to undertaking any work. 

Once the Participating Centre and researcher are put in touch, we ask that BRAIN UK be kept informed, for example by keeping BRAIN UK cc'ed on emails. Although from this point BRAIN UK is no longer directly involved in the process, but we are always available should you require any help or advice; simply email and we will do our best to help.


As a participating centre, how do I recover my costs?

Any costs incurred for the retrieval, processing and transportation of tissue are to be met by the investigator. You should therefore invoice the researcher directly for these costs.  BRAIN UK does not set the charges that you should apply as these will vary considerably across centres, however, the UK Brain Banks Network have published suggested tariffs which you may find useful.

How quickly do I need to supply the tissues?

BRAIN UK does not set limits or targets on when the samples need to be supplied by.  We will ascertain whether there is a deadline for the tissues and will advise centres of this.  A typical turn around time for tissues, from application to receipt, would be around two months.  It is helpful to keep us informed of the progress of a tissue transfer, by just keeping us cc'ed on any correspondence, and if there are any times when you would like us to assist or intervene please let us know.

Now that I am in direct contact with the applicant, they have asked for some clinical information relating to the samples, can I provide this data? 

If corresponding data is required, this should have been requested originally and must be included in the application form. If it is not part of the application form, please ask the researcher to email BRAIN UK for advice. If the request for data was included in the original request and has been approved, arrangements may already be in place for a health professional to access the data so that it can be provided to the researcher in a link-anonymised format. If not please discuss with BRAIN UK if/how this information can be supplied and ensure that only link-anonymised data is given to the researcher. Please invoice the researcher as you would for tissues for recovery of any costs associated with data retrieval.  


Privacy Settings