application process

Scientists can apply for access to Lifelines data and samples by submitting a research proposal. Researchers can request existing data and samples for bioanalysis, or can indicate that they want to perform an additional study.

application process

application for data and samples

Researchers wanting to submit an application for data and/or samples from the Lifelines biobank must follow the five steps explained (click on the image to enlarge). The forms and documents required for each step are also described.

would you like to know more first?

Researchers wanting to get more information on the available data first can submit a request for information. Under data and samples you will find an overview of previously collected data in the Lifelines cohort. If you would like to know more about the cohort or the available data and samples before submitting your application, please submit a request for information.

Would you like to know how many men (aged 50-65) in our cohort have diabetes? Or for how many individuals the whole genome has been determined? Or would you like to know how many children (aged 4-12) there are in our cohort whose parents also participate in Lifelines? For these and other questions, you can submit a request for information.

If you would like to collect additional data or biological samples, please contact Lifelines to discuss the possibilities for an additional study

step 1: application for data and biological samples

  • First check the overview of approved applications. Lifelines tends not to honour similar research proposals within the same year.
  • Complete the application form
  • Make your selection through the online catalogue.
  • Estimate the costs
  • Submit the application form together with the data selection through the catalogue.

Additional study

If you would like to collect additional data from the Lifelines participants by means of a questionnaire, perform an additional measurement or collect additional samples, please contact Lifelines.

Data linkage

If you would like to link Lifelines data to data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), please follow the procedure of data linkage with Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
If you would like to link Lifelines data to medication data from the prescription database, please follow the procedure of data linkage with data
If you would like to link Lifelines data to other databases/ registries, please contact Lifelines.


Would you like to submit an amendment to an approved proposal? Then please download the Research Amendment Application form and send it to

Downloads and links

step 2: application review

Lifelines will review your application / study proposal. They will check whether the right data and samples were requested and whether your study fits the Healthy Ageing theme. They will contact you if they have any practical or other questions.

New applications are reviewed once a month. Lifelines will send you the results of their review. After approval of the application, the offer and Data/Material Transfer Agreement (DMTA) will be drafted.

step 3: offer and DMTA

Once the application has been approved, you will receive an offer and a Data/Material Transfer Agreement (DMTA). The offer describes in detail which data and/or samples you are acquiring. The DMTA describes the purposes and terms for using them.

If your application concerns a data release, you will receive the offer and the DMTA within two weeks after the application has been approved. If your application concerns data and biological samples, the project leader will contact you.

step 4: release

The release of data and samples starts off when Lifelines has received the DMTA and the relevant offer and forms signed by both parties. Lifelines applies the following terms:

  • Release of data                              2 weeks after receipt of signed offer/DMTA
  • Release of genetic data                4 weeks after receipt of signed offer/DMTA
  • Release of samples                       in consultation


If you have applied for data, you will have access to this data via a secure virtual working environment called Workspace. The data applied for is issued in SPSS files. The data is pseudonymised to guarantee privacy. The most common statistical programs (SPSS, R, R studio and, on request STATA) have been installed in the Workspace.

genotype data

If your application (also) concerned genotype data, you will have access to this data via a secure link to a High-Performance Computing (HPC) cluster from the Workspace. The cluster is equipped with the common programs for genotype data analysis. Read more about using the HPC cluster.

biological samples

Lifelines offers the samples from its state-of-the-art Lifestore. The samples you requested will be transported under tightly controlled conditions. All samples have unique numbers and have been pseudonymised. Once you have performed your analyses of the biological samples, Lifelines links the analysis results to the pseudonyms of the data you requested.

step 5: information on results and publications

Lifelines would like to receive information on the results of the sample analyses you performed in order to enrich its database. That way, other researchers will also be able to use the new results and researchers can help each other in their research in the field of healthy ageing.

Lifelines would like to receive the following results from your research:

  • Analysis results from your research with Lifelines samples, such as additional (laboratory) measurements.
  • Analysis results from your research with Lifelines data, such as additional measurements based on the ECG data or derivatives of the nutrients data.
  • Interesting syntaxes and/or scripts you would like to share with other researchers.
  • Publications in which Lifelines will have to be mentioned.
  • You can download our logo to use in your publication.