A briefing note for Parliamentarians has been published today which describes the ethical, legal and practical issues raised by biobanks – for example, whether people who donate samples to biobanks should be informed of any health related information resulting from research conducted with their data, and the challenges of linking primary care records to biobank data.

The ‘POSTnote’ was the result of the first Nuffield Council on Bioethics Fellowship scheme at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Following a recruitment process, the Council funded Clare Wenham, a PhD student from Aberystwyth University, to spend three months at POST from April to July 2014. Her main task was to research and produce a concise briefing note on an area of public policy that raises bioethical issues. The topic was chosen by the POST Board which is chaired by Adam Afriyrie MP.

The Fellowship also provided Clare with the opportunity to engage with a wide range of people with an interest in bioethics both within Parliament and further afield. Read about Clare’s experiences in her guest blog.

The Council is delighted to be funding at least two more Fellowships at POST over the next two years. They will be open to PhD students studying a bioethics-related subject at a UK university who are in their penultimate or final year of study. Recruitment for the next Fellowship will begin in early 2015. Sign up here for updates or direct enquiries to cjoynson@nuffieldbioethics.org.

POST is an office of both Houses of Parliament, charged with providing independent and balanced analysis of policy issues that have a basis in science and technology.