Scandinavia, Innovation, 2018

RABBIT programme showcased at European Biobank Week 2018

15th August 2019

A programme for implementing innovation to enable better use of biobanks and registries for industry, academia and healthcare

EIT Health attended the annual European Biobank Week in Antwerp to showcase the preparation work of the RABBIT programme, discuss collaborations and get insights from the biobanking community from all over the globe.

What is RABBIT?

RABBIT stands for Registries And BioBanks In Transition. It is a programme initiated by EIT Health Scandinavia to accelerate the implementation of innovations enabling better use of biobanks and registries for industry, academia and healthcare for the benefit of European citizens and patients, leveraging the Scandinavian assets in this field and pioneering for future scale ups to European level through the EIT Health pan-European network.


The RABBIT programme is based on the outcome of a series of strategic Think Tank Round Tables, organised by EIT Health and its Partners earlier this year, to identify unmet needs in healthcare and wellness that can be addressed through the utilisation of big data, biobanks and data registries.

Representatives from biobanks, data registries, healthcare providers and payers, experts in health data and samples management, policy makers, industry players, research institutions and universities were brought together with the aim to frame needs and define opportunities. Some of the concrete and actionable ideas that resulted from these Round Tables will be implemented in RABBIT.
RABBIT is now in preparatory phase, gathering teams and plans to address these needs.

The official launch of RABBIT will be in 2019.


Co-organised by BBMRI-ERIC (Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium) and ESBB (European, Middle Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking), Europe Biobank Week 2018 took place in Antwerp, Belgium, 4-7 September 2018. It is one of the most significant biobanking conferences worldwide and provides an exciting and unique opportunity for the RABBIT project to exchange with the biobanking community.

With the aim to collect additional input, get insights in biobanking, network and initiate collaboration with biobanking stakeholders, EIT Health Scandinavia, represented by its Innovation Manager Merike Leego (, attended the EBW18. Merike Leego presented a poster about the RABBIT programme. Merike, originally from Estonia, brought her previous expertise as a Biobank representative of Estonian Genome Centre as well as her experience in coordination of pan-European programmes.

“It is very exciting to see all the interest in RABBIT. Many biobanking stakeholders present at EBW18 expressed their will to participate in the programme, seeing the mutual benefit the RABBIT programme will provide.” said Merike Leego. “We have plenty of meetings ahead to introduce our plans and advance collaboration opportunities.”

The RABBIT programme welcomes biobanks and health registries, who have collaborated with industry, to join the project and share their experiences for better and faster industry-academia collaboration outcomes in the future.

EBW18 was a great arena to reflect, exchange and confirm some of the needs and challenges identified and that will be the deployed in the RABBIT programme, as illustrated by some quotes picked directly from the EBW18:

  • “We need innovation in Biobanking. We are all a community and there is more of a need to collaborate with each other”
  • “Without the biobanks the progress that has been made in healthcare would have been impossible. The story has to be told. A story of hope.”
  • “Biobankers have the duty to communicate the success stories of biobanks to a very wide audience. It motivates everybody and shows the value of biobanks.”
  • “We have to inform donors on the use of theirs samples, it is their right. I don’t think the question is IF we have to inform them but HOW.”
  • “What is a biobanker? There is no real definition. But one thing for sure are the requirements: many different skills and a diversity of knowledge.”
  • “Biobanks need Business Plans!”
  • “Patient involvement is the way forward. Biobanking is ready for patient involvement.”
  • “Do not hold the samples, share them.”
  • “We need to increase biological samples usability, but this can only be achieved by increasing the biobanking visibility”.
  • “Biobanks are an essential tool to collect data and samples in the new approach to big data and precision medicine.”

Matakia wins EIT Health Digital Innovation Award

Matakia wins EIT Health Digital Innovation Award

Learn about the winning team

Find out more

Perspectives on the HealthTech ecosystem

Perspectives on the HealthTech ecosystem

Key takeaways from the conference 2024

Find out more

Europe’s next generation of elite health innovation start-ups recognised

Europe’s next generation of elite health innovation start-ups recognised

Catapult winners announced

Find out more