Background and Objectives: Biobank Qatar is a research enabling infrastructure requiring members of the Qatari public to donate health and lifestyle information coupled to biological samples to enable research towards better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases common in Qatar. Building a biobank depends on the willing participation of the public. Recruitment of participants requires insight into public knowledge of biobanking, public willingness and an understanding of motivators and the barriers. This study reports public opinion in Qatar and aids the communication campaign that facilitates recruitment. Methods: A qualitative survey was undertaken, by means of recorded structured interviews, with 100 members of the Qatari public including Qatari nationals and long-term expatriate residents (resident for more than 5 years). Results: Qatari nationals believe that Biobank Qatar raises Qatar's international profile. Volunteering is seen as a charitable act, compatible with Islam, to help future generations. Long term residents buy-in less to the benefits to Qatar. Qatari nationals assume confidentiality due to trust in their government. Long-term residents fear their information might be used against them (e.g. in the work place). Fear of infection through contaminated equipment was raised. There is lack of understanding on the process of donating blood. Questions arose over the biobank location, proximity to workplaces and how accessible it would be. Participants suggested commitments with families and employers as potential barriers. The public favor communication using a range of media. Participants particularly suggested raising awareness through gatherings and social events. Some participants volunteered to "spread the message" amongst social groups by acting as "biobank champions". Conclusions: Although limited by scale, scope and composition of the sample, this study provides a way-finder for public opinion related to biobanking for biomedical research. The public support Biobank Qatar, even with limited knowledge of our work. Qatari nationals were particularly supportive and are motivated by national pride, progress and making personal contributions to a healthier future for future generations. This study is useful in guiding our communications and recruitment plans and will be the basis for further sociological studies of the Qatari public and their support for biomedical research.


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