Global Virus Network – Virtual Biobanking Initiative Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI)

Introduction and purpose

The Global Virus Network recognizes the importance of convenient, facile access to samples for research purposes. This is relevant to a great number of studies: epidemiological surveys, identification of new viral variants, characterization of the breadth of activity of antibodies and drugs, the occurrence of resistance, etc. However, resources that are key to the research efforts of one group may be stored at centers located in various geographical areas. One approach to ameliorating availability of samples is to establish a biobank. This approach, however, raises a number of ethical, regulatory and logistical issues; access to samples needs to be subjected to evaluation and approval by ethical and regulatory committees; samples can only be shipped to other countries once a research protocol is approved. Moreover, biobanking requires a significant investment to purchase
and maintain capital equipment, storage facilities, and training specialized personnel. In some cases, virtual biobanking offers an alternative approach. Instead of centralizing sample storage, samples are kept at the site of origin. The GVN will offer the necessary coordination, and connect centers and partners that need certain samples with the centers that have collected samples. The approach is based on three scopes:

 1) Creation of a virtual biobanking network of GVN centers, with the intent to share documents/protocols/information to cope with regulations and hurdles that affect sharing of
 2) Setting up bilateral collaborations among centers and with partners. This will be achieved using a GVN database, with the information provided by centers.
 3) Providing assistance to centers that are interested in acquiring on site capacity, providing proper protocols, information on proper storage of samples, etc., connecting them with more established centers; reinforcing the human resources.

Funding mechanism

This RFEI is aimed at supporting the achievement of the three scopes indicated above. Applications will be prepared on a one-page template (attached). The expression of interest must include Introduction, Preliminary studies, Proposed goals, conclusions, and Budget total. Introduction: provide information on the background of the studies and critical unmet needs. Preliminary studies: provide information on past and current studies and their impact on virtual biobanking, and how they enable the current proposal. Proposed goals: explain how the study will address any of scopes 1-3 above, or any combination of them. Indicate tentative timelines and milestones, centers that will collaborate, and any information useful to evaluate the impact and chance of success of the study. Conclusion: Indicate what will be the anticipated impact of the study on the specific research field, whether it will enable future studies supported by other agencies, whether the future funding will be pursued by extending the partnership supported by the GVN, and if future funding applications will involve the GVN. Total budget: In one line, indicate the total budget request.

Application deadline and review procedures

The GVN will accept expression of interest submitted by January 13, 2023, 5PM EST to [email protected]. Funding decisions will be made within two months of the application submission. Funding will be provided 50% at the start of the program, 50% after reporting achievement of half of the milestones. All publications related to the studies described in the proposal must indicate the GVN as a source of funding.

For further information on this RFEI please contact: Dr. Alfredo Garzino-Demo at [email protected].

Proposal Template:


Note: 1-page limit, Arial 11, do not change margins, use line spacing as you prefer. Please fill up the following fields. There is no recommended length for each section, except the “Total Budget” which has a 1-line limit, with an amount and a duration. Figures can be included. References can be included if necessary, using a DOI number. Text in parentheses must be deleted before submission.

NAME OF PI and/or Co-PIs) in top left of document

  • INTRODUCTION (including scientific question/hypothesis, significance)


  • PROPOSED GOALS (can be more than one. If applicable, highlight how the GVN will catalyze achieving the goals of the study. For each Goal, provide a brief description of how the goal will be pursued from an experimental viewpoint, and expected outcomes)

  • CONCLUSIONS (if necessary; can be a recap on how the research will impact the field, and how it will evolve after the funding period. If it is expected studies stemming from this proposal will result in applications for funding with other agencies, please indicate if they will be an extension of this proposal and whether GVN will be a partner)

  • BUDGET TOTAL (provide the amount of TOTAL costs over the ENTIRE period of funding, and the total length of the funding period) ONE LINE ONLY