Governance

Institutional Biosafety Committee

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The Institutional Biosafety Committee oversees the proper acquisition, production, transport, handling, use, storage, disposal, record-keeping and reporting requirements needed to undertake research involving genetically modified organisms, or biohazardous organisms or substances, within suitable facilities at multiple UWA sites.

This committee operates in accordance with the UWA Principles for the Operation of Committee and UWA Rules for the operation of committees. Members must act in accordance with the University Committee Members' Code of Conduct.

Members must also act in accordance with the Senate Code which applies to Senate and Senate committees. In accordance with the Code members must among other things:

  • act always in the best interest of the University as a whole, with this obligation to be observed in priority to any perceived duty a member may owe to those electing or appointing him or her
  • maintain confidentiality and, except with the approval of the Chair or if required by State or Commonwealth legislation, not divulge information at any time to any person external to the committee.
 

Constitution

Position of the committee within The University of Western Australia

1.(1) The IBC is a sub-committee of the University Safety Committee, which is an advisory committee to the Vice-Chancellor.

(2) The IBC is responsible to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) .

Role

2.(1) The committee assists the University to comply with Regulations governing Biological Safety by—

(a) monitoring the acquisition, transport, production, housing, storage, use and disposal of hazardous biological materials, including but not limited to plants, animals, microorganisms, and cell cultures;

(b) recommending any measures needed to ensure that appropriate standards are maintained to ensure compliance with relevant legislative requirements, including but not limited to Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) requirements, relevant aspects of the Building Codes, Security Sensitive Biological Agents Standards, Microbiological Standards (AS/NZS 224.3:2002), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) codes of experimental conduct, Occupational Health and Safety and UWA Laboratory Practices; and

(c) ensuring that appropriate documentation is maintained to UWA standards.

(2) The committee assists the University to comply with Regulations governing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by—

(a) monitoring the acquisition, transport, production, housing, storage, use and disposal of genetically modified organisms, including but not limited to plants, animals, microorganisms and cell cultures;

(b) recommending any measures needed to ensure that the standards of the Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001 are maintained;

(c) examining written proposals which incorporate the use of GMOs in scientific and teaching activities and either approving, subject to modification or rejecting such proposals and ensure that the committee approves only those studies which comply with the requirements of the Gene Technology Act 2000, Gene Technology Regulations 2001, and all other relevant regulatory requirements ([AQIS], the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), National Health Security Act 2007, AS/NZS 224.3:2002, [NHMRC]) taking into consideration ethical, safety, scientific and educational value; and

(d) performing all other duties required by the Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001.

(3) The committee advises on all elements of risk associated with the use of GMOs and biological materials used either alone or in combination by—

(a) assessing individual and combined elements of the risks associated with the use of GMOs and hazardous biological agents or procedures;

(b) examining and commenting on all institutional plans, policies and procedures which may impact on safety or compliance with UWA risk assessment procedures; and

(c) ensuring that appropriate documentation is maintained to UWA standards.

(4) The committee has authority to withdraw approval for any project or authorise appropriate action should any breaches of the Gene Technology Act 2000 and/or the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 occur.

Membership

3.(1) The Institutional Biosafety Committee comprises:

(a) the following members appointed by the DVC(R):

(i) at least four University staff members with substantial recent experience in the use of GMOs for scientific purposes, and/or substantial recent experience with biological safety issues, selected to provide a range of expertise from across the spectrum of gene technology and use of biological agents in experimentation;

(ii) a person with biosafety containment experience; and

(iii) an independent person who is not employed by the University; and

(b) the Chair of the University Safety Committee or a nominee; and

(c) up to two additional members co-opted by the foregoing so that the composition of the committee complies with the Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001.

(2) The DVC(R) invites one of the members in 3(1)(a) to be Chair.

(3) The Chair must appoint a Deputy Chair to act in the Chair’s absence.

Terms of office

4.(1) The terms of office of members appointed under 3(1)(a) is three years.

(2) The term of office of members co-opted under 3(1)(c) is up to two years.

Eligibility for a second or subsequent term of office

5. At the end of a term of office, appointed or co-opted members are eligible to be reappointed or co-opted again.

Skills and/or qualifications of members

6.(1) Members appointed under 3(1)(a)(i) must have substantial recent experience in the use of GMOs for scientific purposes, and/or substantial recent experience with biological safety issues, selected to provide a range of expertise from across the spectrum of gene technology and use of biological agents in experimentation.

(2) The member appointed under 3(1)(a)(ii) must have biosafety containment experience.

(3) The lay member appointed under 3(1)(a)(iii) must be an independent person who is not employed by the University.

(4) Members co-opted under 3(1)(c) must have experience or qualifications such that the composition of the committee complies with the Gene Technology Act 2000 and Gene Technology Regulations 2001.

Quorum

7. The quorum for the committee is six members.

Decisions

8.(1) All questions which come before the committee are decided by a majority of the members present and voting.

(2) The chair of the meeting has an ordinary vote and a casting vote.

Frequency of meetings

9.(1) The IBC has six scheduled meetings throughout the calendar year.

(2) An extraordinary meeting can be called by the DVC(R) or the IBC Chair.

Chair's authority

10. The Chair has authority to—

(a) assess, approve and sign-off applications to perform Exempt Dealings (ED);

(b) assess, approve and sign-off applications to perform research on non-GM Biohazardous Organisms; and

(c) assess, approve and sign-off applications to use Animal Tissue once approval has been received from the UWA Animal Welfare Officer.

Safeguards

11. Minutes of all meetings are sent to the DVC(R) and the UWA Safety Committee and appear on the UWA IBC webpage.

Decision-making and local communications maps

A local decision-making map illustrates where the committee's business comes from and where its recommendations or decisions go.

A local communications map illustrates where information comes to the committee from and which committees or groups need to be informed of the committee's decisions.

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