To deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), an organisation needs to be accredited by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). To fulfil the requirements for accreditation the organisation must have:
- a properly constituted Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
- an internal system of application checking
- systems of record keeping and reporting
- a training program for staff working with GMOs
The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) plays an important role by helping organisations to meet the requirements of the legislation. Note however that the ultimate legal responsibility for compliance with the conditions of accreditation rests with the Accredited Organisation and not the IBC.
The Australian National University is an Accredited Organisation and its IBC is the University Recombinant DNA Monitoring Committee, which also serves as the IBC for Canberra Hospital and Lipotek. The ANU IBC serves the following functions:
- assesses and approves applications for low-risk dealings
- reviews applications for licenced dealings before they are sent to the Regulator to ensure they are comprehensive and meet OGTR requirements
- regularly inspects all ANU physical containment facilities to make sure they meet OGTR requirements
- keeps detailed records and reports annually to the Regulator on GM research at ANU
- ensures all areas have procedures to train staff who will be dealing with GMOs
- provides access to the Gene Technology Practices course (which is a requirement to work in PC2 facilities at ANU)
The Committee meets at least once every calendar year. Members also review NLRD applications, monitor ANU PC2 facility compliance, and perform other committee functions, out of session during the year.
The Committee issues a newsletter after each meeting to communicate any updates to researchers. Past newsletters can be found on the rDNA advice page.