The Wellcome Sanger Institute Web Cookies Policy

Information that the Wellcome Sanger Institute collects from you.

What is a cookie?

A cookie (sometimes known as web cookie, browser cookie or html cookie) is a small amount of data (<4Kb) that is sent to your computer or web-enabled device (hereafter referred to as a "device") browser from a website's server. The cookie can include a unique identifier within it.

Where does the cookie go?

The cookie is stored on your device's hard drive (this is often called "setting a cookie"). Each website that wishes to send you its cookie can only do so if your device's web browser preferences, that you can set personally, are set to allow this. To protect your privacy your device browser only permits a website to access the cookies it has sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other websites. Many websites set one or more cookies to track online traffic through their website.

Wellcome Sanger Institute hosted websites, set cookies to store information about your:

  1. online preferences that allow us to tailor our websites to your data requirements
  2. access rights i.e. your ability to login to restricted services and the duration of that login
  3. Anonymous user tracking across our sites.

Users can set their device browsers to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. The last of these means that certain personalised features cannot then be provided to that user and accordingly they may not be able to take full advantage of all of the website's features. Each browser is different, so check the "Help" menu of your browser to learn how to change your cookie preferences.

During the course of any visit to a Sanger Institute hosted website, the pages you see, along with a cookie, are downloaded to your device. This enables our website publishers to find out whether the device (and its user) has visited the website before. This is done on repeat visits by checking to see, and finding, the cookie left there on the last visit.

How does the Sanger Institute use cookies?

There are three main uses:-

  • Information supplied by cookies helps us to anonymously analyse the access patterns of visitors and helps us provide a better user experience.
  • Web site usage. Many of the research funding agencies that provide funding for the Sanger Institute's research require annual reports to determine how often websites are visited by both academic and lay visitors.
  • State information e.g. authentication or information about the user session.

Third Party Cookies and Flash Cookies

The Sanger Institute does not use information contained in cookies created by a third party or Flash cookies.

Sanger Institute cookies and how to reject cookies?

A list of the cookies that the Sanger Institute hosted websites set (and what each is used for) together with ways to minimise the number of cookies you receive can be found below.

i. List of the main Sanger Institute cookies

This is a list of the main cookies set by the Sanger Institute website, and what each is used for.

Cookie Name Purpose Criteria Domains cookie set
_pk_ref* Matomo¶ anonymous user tracking‡ Optional All
_pk_cvar* Matomo¶ anonymous user tracking‡ Optional All
_pk_id* Matomo¶ anonymous user tracking‡ Optional All
_pk_ses* Matomo¶ anonymous user tracking‡ Optional All
PageSmith Set Ajax enabled, font size, search box parameters Strictly necessary
Pagesmith_User Login session id Strictly necessary
Pagesmith_CSRF Login security Strictly necessary
dancer.session Web framework session Strictly necessary
Backend Load balancing Strictly necessary
session Current session id Strictly necessary

¶ Matomo is a data collection and statistical package to monitor website usage

† A full description of these cookies can be found at the following website

In addition to the cookies set above further "strictly necessary" cookies are set for various web applications on other Sanger Institute hosted websites. The usage and description of these cookies can be found on each individual website.

These are used to provide session 'state' information i.e. authentication and user session identification but not for data collection. Their usage is described on the host website in question.

ii. How to control and delete cookies

The Sanger Institute does not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you. However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our websites, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The Help function within your browser should tell you how.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your computer as well as more general information about cookies. For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

Sanger Institute-hosted websites honour browsers that have the "do not track" (DNT) feature set. Only a limited number of browsers support DNT currently,

  1. firefox 5+
  2. IE 9
  3. Safari on Lion.

Further information can be found at

For Chrome there is an "Extension" for this browser which can be installed.

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of the Sanger Institute website.

iii. Cookies set by Third Party sites

To support our research and public engagement, we may embed photos and/or video content from websites such as YouTube and Flickr. When you visit a page with content embedded as above, you may be presented with cookies from these websites. The Sanger Institute does not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the relevant third party website for more information about these.

How to tell us about changes

If you have any questions about data protection or require further information, please email or write to the Data Protection Compliance Officer, Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, CB10 1SA, UK.

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