Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa

Launch & Forum 2023

The BBSA Forum 2023 will run from 28 February 2023 to 1 March 2023, and will see the official launch of the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa, celebrating the network of institutions that preserve, maintain and utilise South Africa’s vast biodiversity biobanking resources – and provide critical research infrastructure for answering important questions about our world.


Attendees are invited to join us for the official launch of the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa, a Department of Science & Innovation Research Infrastructure project hosted by SANBI, to celebrate a shared vision of the potential of biobanking in South Africa and beyond.

Biodiversity Biobanks Forum Details

  • Date: 28 February 2023 to 2 March 2023
  • Time: 09h00 for 10h00 – 17h00
  • Venue: 26 Degrees South Hotel, Beyers Naude Drive Zwartkops, Muldersdrift, Gauteng

Established as part of the Department of Science & Innovation’s Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR) and co-ordinated by SANBI, the BBSA provides a coordinating structure across several of South Africa’s existing biodiversity biobanks, with the main aim of increasing the range and quality of samples stored and/or distributed, and increasing and improving access for research and development through a single, centralised data portal, which will also allow more strategic collection of samples.

SANBI CEO Mr. Shonisani Munzhedzi will open proceedings, and the Department of Science & Innovation (DSI) will conduct the formal launch. Researchers from biobanks all over South Africa will discuss the utility of biobanks for food security, conservation, biotechnology and capacity development, and the challenges biobanks face in pursuit of this.

We hope that you will join us for this event which provides a unique opportunity to build the biodiversity biobanking community in South Africa.

For more information on the official launch of the BBSA, please consult the attached programme or read this. And for further enquiries about the launch, the network or related matters, contact Michelle Hamer at


Welcome To The First BBSA Forum

It’s been a long time coming – but I’m proud to be able to welcome you all to the formal launch of the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa on 1 March 2023.

While this certainly does not signal the start of our work, it does give us a chance to celebrate our progress, and to look forward to future achievements. And more than that, it’s a chance to come together as a network: The launch will be sandwiched between two days of the very first BBSA Forum, which offers an opportunity to gather, talk shop and learn from each other – and about each other.

Getting together is never easy – the biobanks participating in the BBSA are scattered across much of the country, from Skukuza in the north, to Cape Town in the south, Kimberley in the west and Bloemfontein, Makhanda, Middelburg, and Pretoria somewhere in the middle.

And the final BBSA proposal was approved by the Department of Science & Innovation in 2020, just after we went into lockdown, so all of our meetings since have been virtual.

That makes this event even more special – and we look forward to seeing everyone at 26 Degrees South in Muldersdrift for three days filled with the joy of biodiversity biobanking.

Travel safely.

Michelle Hamer
Project Lead: Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa

Michelle Hamer BBSA Lead

Michelle Hamer – Project Lead
Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa

BBSA Institutional Videos: Introducing The BBSA

The BBSA Launch will also provide the opportunity to share our institutional biobanks story – in visual form. To that end, we’re asking interested attendees to produce a short video introducing your biobank. Nick will compile the clips into one video to show at the Launch.

This should be 3-5 minutes long, preferably narrated, and cover the following:

Basically (in any order):

  • Introduce your institution (name, location, type of collection)
  • Show us what it looks like (the building, inside the biobank, inside the freezers to show what the samples look like)
  • What collections you hold
  • Who you have working on the biobank (in whatever capacity)
  • Any interesting factoids (our institution is known for…)
  • Anything else you’d like to say about the institution, the BBSA, etc.

Guidelines: Some Things To Keep In Mind

Deadline for submission to Nick – 21 February.

Please can you upload your video to the following Google Drive folder:

Need a hand? It’s your video, but we’re here to help in whatever way we can. Just reach out to Nick at or and we’ll make a plan, not to worry.

What are biodiversity biobanks?

Biodiversity biobanks are repositories of biologically relevant resources, including reproductive tissues such as seeds, eggs and sperm, other tissues including blood, DNA extracts, microbial cultures (active and dormant), and environmental samples containing biological communities….