Biological Hazards and Genetically Modified Organisms


DATE: 19/2/93 (AB1/93-6)

Research and Innovation Services Office, September 1995; Academic Board (AB5/97-87) 6 June 1997
Academic Board 9 December 2005 (AB10/2005-8.1); Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President: Research and Innovation (16 May 2006); Academic Board (AB2008/2/28) 28 March 2008

REFERENCE AUTHORITY: Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research & Enterprise)

Responsible Practice in Research Policy RES 1.1
Human Research Ethics Policy RES 2.1
Animal Experimentation Policy RES 3.1
Ionising Radiation Policy (HR 29.1)
Non-ionising Radiation Policy (HR 30.0)
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research


The Gene Technology Act 2000 came into force on June 21 2001, and established the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). The University is an accredited organization under the Act. Accreditation requires that the University has an Institutional Biosafety Committee. The Institutional Biosafety Committee assesses and reviews all proposals involving Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and, where required by the Gene Technology Regulations, submits them to the OGTR. As well as assessing proposals, the Institutional Biosafety Committee recommends certification of laboratories of physical containment level PC2 and regularly inspects such laboratories and those of higher levels. It maintains a register of work done and of laboratory workers and assists the University to prepare an annual report to the OGTR. The Institutional Biosafety Committee also assesses work involving biological hazards undertaken by members of the University Community.


Work involving Genetically Modified Organisms and biological hazards by members of the University of South Australia is required to be assessed and reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee and where necessary must be submitted to the OGTR in the case of GMOs


The University will have in place an Institutional Biosafety Committee that is a subcommittee of the Research Integrity, Accountability and Compliance Committee and has the following composition and terms of reference.

1. Composition

The Convener and membership appointed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research & Enterprise).

The membership of the Institutional Biosafety Committee should comprise a minimum of 8 people and include:

  • persons holding suitable qualifications and/or relevant experience in biological safety, microbiology, and molecular biology or genetics
  • one member with an engineering background who has expertise in testing biological safety facilities and equipment and
  • a lay person, who is in a position to consider the wider community interests.

2. Terms of reference

2.1 To undertake the assessment and review of all University activities involving biological hazards and Genetically Modified Organisms (including the qualifications and experience of those involved).

2.2 To provide advice to the members of the University community on potential hazards and their management.

2.3 To inspect physical containment facilities such as laboratories against the requirements of the OGTR at least once per year.

2.4 To ensure that biological and physical containment facilities at all levels meet, and continue to meet, the safety requirements set down in the "Handbook of the Regulation of Gene Technology in Australia" produced by the OGTR.

2.5 To maintain a register of experiments and activities and those involved in using University containment facilities.

2.6 To communicate changes in Gene Technology Regulations and Australia/New Zealand Standards of Safety in Laboratories (AS/NZ2243.3) or similar guidelines.

2.7 To make inspections of laboratories or other work areas to ensure that appropriate safety requirements are being met.

2.8 To make regular reports to the Research Integrity, Accountability and Compliance Committee. These reports will include

  • a list of the titles of projects and/or activities considered since the last report
  • the names of those involved
  • the location of the projects and/or activities
  • their approval status
  • level of containment.

2.9 To assist the University to prepare annual reports to the OGTR as required under the Gene Technology Regulations.

2.10 To consider any other matter relevant to biological safety referred to it by the Research Integrity, Accountability and Compliance Committee.

3. Conflicts of interest

Where a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee is involved in a project submitted to the Committee, then that member shall not take part in the assessment of that project.

4. Indemnification of members

The University shall indemnify individual members who serve on the Institutional Biosafety Committee for any costs arising as the result of legal action against individual members, as a result of work that they undertake as a Committee member.

5. Complaints resolution

Where complaints are made against the decisions of the Institutional Biosafety Committee the Chair will refer the matter to the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Research & Enterprise) for resolution.

6. Frequency of meetings

The Institutional Biosafety Committee will meet at least twice a year and will report to the Research Integrity, Accountability and Compliance Committee following each meeting.