NIH Brain Development Cohorts (NBDC) Biospecimen Access Program

The NIH Brain Development Cohorts (NBDC) Biospecimen Access Program provides the research community access to biospecimens collected from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive DevelopmentSM Study (ABCD Study®) participants through an X01 grant mechanism. Expand the sections below for additional information about the ABCD Study®, resources available, and how to apply for access.


What is the ABCD Study?

The ABCD Study is the largest longitudinal study of brain development and child health in the U.S., collecting data from nearly 12,000 youth across the country beginning when they were 9-10 years old and continuing for a decade. The ABCD Study cohort approximates the U.S. population on several demographic factors (see below. Baseline enrollment: n=11,878 participants; 48% female, 52% male)

Figure 1. Race/Ethnicity of Participants in the ABCD Study

Singletons n = 8,145, 49% White, 15% Black, 23% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 9% Mixed, 0.30% AIAN, 0.06% NHPI.
Siblings chart: n = 1,597, 51% White, 15% Black, 20% Hispanic, 2.10% Asian, 10% Mixed, 0.25% AIAN, 0.40% NHPI.





Twins/Multiples n = 2136, 64% White, 13.70% Black, 11.40% Hispanic, 0.56% Asian, 8.80% Mixed, 0.19% AIAN, 0.50% NHPI.
American Community Survey Race/Ethnicity. White 52.4%, Black 13.4%, Hispanic 24.0%, Asian 4.7%, Mixed 4.2%, AIAN 0.8%, NHPI 0.2%, Other 0.3%.







*The American Community Survey is a demographics survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Note that the ABCD Study participant race/ethnicity distribution closely resembles the American Community Survey distribution.

Available Resources

Stored biospecimens from the ABCD Study are included on the biospecimen and collection frequency table:

Biospecimen and collection frequency table
Biospecimen Collection Frequency
Saliva Annually
Teeth Baseline/as shed
DNA Saliva Primarily baseline
Whole Blood Twins - Every other year beginning at baseline
Remaining cohort - Every other year beginning at 2-year follow-up
Serum Every other year beginning at 2-year follow-up

Biospecimen collection was disrupted for the 2-, 3-, and 4-year follow-up visits and may be incomplete due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the ABCD Study site for detailed protocols.


No funds are available through this funding opportunity. Applicants must have funding from another source and provide proof of funding to carry out the research, including costs for shipment of samples to the investigator, in their X01 application. Applicants must identify their funding source and include relevant documentation.

Applicants seeking biospecimens may want to consider the following funding opportunities:

Applying for Access to Biospecimens

Submit biospecimen availability request (BAR) form submit at least weeks prior to applying for funding or the X01 to allow for review and report generation. If funding is needed, submit an application for funding. Funding must be secured before submitting the X01 application. Then, submit the X01 application for biospecimens. Must include proof of funding with application. There are three review cycles: February, June and Oct. If already funded submit BAR form then submit X01 application for biospecimens
  1. Submit a Biospecimen Availability Request - Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of intent in the form of a Biospecimen Availability Request to the NIH Brain Development Cohorts (NBDC) Team 6 weeks in advance of their X01 submission or in advance of their application to a funding opportunity to determine whether there is sufficient quantity of the sample required for the proposed study, the impact it will have on the resource, and whether the proposed use of samples is consistent with the participants’ informed consents and goals of the program. Biospecimen Availability Requests may be submitted on a rolling schedule.

    Download and complete the NBDC Biospecimen Availability Request form. You will be asked to provide:
    1. Your institutional affiliation and contact information
    2. Detailed information on the samples you are requesting, including:
      • the type and quantity of biospecimen requested
      • the biospecimen collection visit(s) from which you are requesting samples
        • You may apply for access to samples from multiple timepoints if you are proposing a longitudinal design and can demonstrate adequate storage capabilities.
      • relevant demographic variables (e.g. race/ethnicity, sex at birth)
      • additional specimen requirements (e.g. storage conditions, additives, or preservatives)
    Applicants interested in specimens from future collection timepoints should contact the NIH Developmental Studies team before submitting their request.

  2. Biospecimen Availability Request Review - Upon receipt of your Biospecimen Availability Request, the NBDC Team will determine whether your requested samples are available and will work with you to update your Biospecimen Availability Request as needed. You will be provided with a Resource Availability and Impact Report that may be included when applying for funding from other sources. Reports will be sent within 30 days of request submission.
  3. X01 Application Submission - Review the NBDC Biospecimen Application Submission Schedule and plan your submission accordingly. The X01 funding opportunity is expected to be published in Spring 2023 with an expected initial application due date in Summer 2023. Please refer to the Notice of Intent to Publish (NOITP) for details.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to have funding before I apply?
    Yes. You will be required to provide proof of funding, including funding source and related documentation (e.g., grant number, summary statement), in your X01 application to cover all associated costs of conducting the research and shipping the biospecimens to the investigator.
  2. Who can apply for access?
    Please see the NOITP for information about eligibility. Both foreign (non-U.S.) and domestic (U.S. based) investigators from eligible institutions as specified in the funding opportunity may apply. Investigators with proof of funding for studies consistent with research priorities for child or adolescent health and development will be given priority.
  3. Can a non-US based investigator apply for access to samples from these studies?
    Yes, samples are available to U.S. – and non- U.S. - based investigators. However, you will need to pay for costs associated with shipping samples outside the United States. If the shipment is intended for a foreign country, the researcher is responsible for obtaining the required documents for entry of biohazardous material.
  4. Do I need IRB approval prior to submitting my Biospecimen Availability Request?
    You do not need IRB approval prior to submitting a Biospecimen Availability Request or an X01 application. However, you will be required to submit proof of IRB approval or exemption for your proposed use of samples after your application is approved and before your samples will be shipped.
  5. What is the timetable for review of a Biospecimen Availability Request?
    Biospecimen Availability Request review takes approximately one month. Review process will include checking for availability of requested samples, impact on the resource, and consistency with the participants’ informed consents and the goals of the program. A Resource Availability and Impact Report will be e-mailed to you at the end of the review period.
  6. What research is permitted by the participants’ consents?
    Parent permissions allow for broad future use of all biospecimens collected in the ABCD Study; however, the creation of cell lines is prohibited.
  7. Do I need to pay for retrieving or shipping the ABCD Study samples?
    Investigators will need to pay for shipping samples, but there is no cost for the samples themselves.
  8. Am I required to submit or share the results from my study?
    You are required to share the data, consistent with the NIH Data Sharing Policy and the policies set forth by the project funding agency(ies). and the policies set forth by the project funding agency(ies). You are expected to deposit your results in the ABCD data repository, which will be publicly shared once the results have been published.
  9. Are there limitations to the data sharing process or to the types of data that can be shared?
    All data must be de-identified before uploading to the ABCD data repository. You may not transfer data, with or without charge, to any other entity or any individual. This applies to all versions of ABCD Study data (including any individual-level data derived from the original data).

Contact team

For inquiries regarding the NIH Brain Development Cohorts Biospecimen resource and procedures for access, contact the NIH Brain Development Cohorts Team.