KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region Augsburg) is a regional research platform for population-based surveys and subsequent follow-up studies in the fields of epidemiology, health economics, and health care research. KORA was established in 1996 to continue and expand the MONICA project in Augsburg, including the Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Registry. The available pool of study participants allows for cohort, case-control and family studies. We present the KORA infrastructure, aspects of data management and quality control, and the concept of cooperative research. The increasing use of the MONICA/KORA cohorts for a variety of research topics, with a recent focus on genetic epidemiology, indicates the attractiveness of this concept.