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Biosafety Committee

Terms of Reference


  • To oversee work in the university that may present a biological hazard with the aim of reducing risks and protecting people and the environment.

  • To undertake assessment and review of work which involves genetic modification, handling pathogens or potentially infected materials as well as any biological work involving carcinogens or teratogens. Projects will be approved initially for 5 years and subsequently reviewed regularly. This assessment and review will take into account the potential intrinsic risks involved in the experiments, the competence of the personnel and the safety/security of the laboratory facilities.

  • To prescribe conditions for containment, housing, storage, transportation and procedures under which biohazardous research may proceed. In the unlikely event of disagreement with stakeholders the committee will refer the matter to the main safety committee of the university for resolution.

  • To inspect and approve containment facilities before they are used for work with biohazardous materials.

  • To report on a regular basis to the Committee on Health, Safety and Well-Being.

  • To co-operate with research granting agencies and with any committees on biohazards that may be established at governmental level.

  • To collect and disseminate information and guidance, promote audit of facilities and the training of staff and students and in the area of biohazards and biosecurity.


The composition of the committee shall be:


  • A Pro Vice-Chancellor would normally be the chairperson however a senior academic with experience in the field of biological research may also be appointed.

  • Six persons nominated by the Committee on Health, Safety and Well-Being. They should have sufficient knowledge and experience to understand and recognise the risks arising from the work activities.

  • (In practice the six nominees are likely to be from:- 1. The Faculty of Science; 2. The Faculty of Medicine; 3. From a different faculty which might allow input to the committee from the legal or ethical perspective. 4. An appointee from the animal unit or CULATR to facilitate liaison with CULATR that could help in the aim of minimizing bureaucracy. 5. A senior member of technical staff who could help to represent the views of the non-academic staff members. Two members from the Faculty of Medicine may be appointed as a high percentage of the work in this area is carried out by this faculty)

  • The Biological Safety Officer who will act as secretary to the committee.

  • Up to two persons, co-opted from time to time, by the biosafety committee for their professional expertise in order to give advice to the committee.



*These "meetings" were conducted via e-mail with the agenda consisting solely of issues for the information of committee members

For full documentation on any of the issues raised at the meetings please contact the Committee Secretary Dr Paul Hunt via the Safety Office.


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