Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) registration is required prior to use of ‘biohazards’ in research. Under UMaine policy, ‘biohazard’ includes recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules (including plants), biological materials/biospecimens (human and animal blood, bodily fluids, and/or tissues), infectious agents* or select agents/toxins. (*The University of Maine has defined “infectious agents” as all bacterial, parasitic, fungal, viral, and prion, included within Class 2 or higher classes; See Appendix B of NIH Guidelines.)

For guidance on whether your biohazards work requires IBC or other approvals, view the IBC Protocol Submission Decision Tree.

Questions regarding the IBC may be directed to

May 15, 2020 Update from the NIH Office of Science Policy: The NIH Office of Science Policy has issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding interim biosafety guidance for research with SARS-CoV-2 and relevant Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) requirements under the NIH Guidelines.  Appendix B of the NIH Guidelines provides the basis for the classification of biohazardous agents by Risk Group (RG).  At the present time, SARS-CoV-2 best meets the definition of a RG3 agent and IBCs should consider the agent to be RG3 as a starting point in their risk assessments when reviewing research subject to the NIH Guidelines.  The RG classification may change over time as additional information about the virus, such as potential treatments or the development of an effective vaccine, becomes available.

Additional interim biosafety guidance for research with SARS-CoV-2 and IBC requirements under the NIH Guidelines

Up next: Policy

Contact for IBC Questions