Apply for access
Preparing to apply
If you have already registered with UK Biobank, you can apply to access the database via the Access Management System (AMS). To complete an application form you will need the following information:
- A summary of the research you intend to conduct
- The UK Biobank data-fields you require
- A description of any new data or variables your research will generate
How to complete an access application
Step 1: Complete the application form in the UK Biobank online Access Management System (AMS) and generate a basket of data-fields.
Step 2: Add researchers who will access UK Biobank data to the application as collaborators.
Step 3: Add contact information for a signatory who is authorised to sign the material transfer agreement (MTA) on behalf of your institute. This must be someone other than the PI/Lead Collaborator for each institute.
Step 4: The UK Biobank team will review your application and contact you via a message in the AMS with any feedback.
Step 5: On approval of your application, an access fee request will be raised, and the MTA will be sent to you and your authorised signatory.
Step 6: Following payment of the access fee and return of signed MTA, the Access team will inform you when your data have been released and are available to access.
For more details on the application process, please view:
Are you in a hurry?
Tips to minimise the application timeline:
- Ensure your legal team has seen our standard MTA at the point of applying (please note, our MTA is non-negotiable)
- Amend your application in response to our feedback as soon as you can – keep an eye out for email alerts saying you have a message from us
- Pay the access fee online via the AMS
- Sign the MTA we send to you and your authorised signatory (via DocuSign) as soon as you can.
A note about your lay summary
You will be asked to provide a short summary of your work in lay language. This is important because it allows participants and members of the public to understand how UK Biobank is being used. The lay summary should reflect all aspects of your work and match with your publications. It should indicate whether or not findings may be considered as controversial.
The fee to access UK Biobank helps cover the project's running costs. Access fees will be reviewed regularly. The costs are:
- £1,750 + VAT (where applicable) per application that requires access to data only
- An additional cost of £500 + VAT (where applicable) for access to bulk data (e.g. genotyping data, raw imaging, ECG or accelerometer data, record data)
- Bespoke quote for applications that request access to biological samples
- Bespoke quote for re-contact requests
- Bespoke quote for customised data sets
Payment can be made via our online payment system in AMS or via BACS transfer from your institute. If making payment via BACS transfer, you will need to generate an invoice in AMS (see the AMS User Guide for instructions).
Please note, all payments must be made in GBP.
There are two circumstances in which UK Biobank will consider a reduced access fee of £500 (plus VAT) for data-only requests.
Applications from bona fide students where the following criteria are met:
- The application is submitted by a student or their supervisor for the sole purpose of performing the student’s research project (the resulting paper must be authored by the student)
- The application cannot be used to conduct research for any other purpose, nor can it be used for multiple student (or other) projects
- Any collaborators (which are permitted only at UK Biobank’s discretion) must have a clearly articulated and relevant role in the production of the research project
Low and low-middle income countries
- Applications from low or low-middle income countries, as defined by the World Bank guidelines.
UK Biobank will keep this reduced-fee regime under regular review to ensure that it is being used appropriately and fairly.
UK Biobank’s policy for the assay of depletable biological samples is that the sample should be efficiently turned into non-depletable data.
If you are submitting an application to request biological samples please ensure your application meets our Sample Release Policy, then complete and return a PMG103_B form to the Access Management Team.
If you wish to re-contact participants, you will need to provide additional information to justify this request. Applications are reviewed in line with the UK Biobank’s policy to uphold participant goodwill and trust in the resource. Full details can be found in our 'Re-Contact Procedures'.
All requests to re-contact UK Biobank participants, and for biological samples, are considered by the UK Biobank Access Sub-committee, which meets quarterly.