Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sunshine Project 2006 IBC Survey

The Sunshine Project
Information Pointer - 20 March 2006

The Sunshine Project has begun a major study of US Institutional
Biosafety Committees (IBCs). The survey focuses on how IBCs are
adapting to new roles brought about by the dramatic expansion of
research on biological weapons agents in the United States. A
webpage for the survey has been established where updates will
be posted as it progresses.

The initial survey group consists of 444 IBCs registered with the
National Institutes of Health Office of Biotechnology Activities,
including committees at corporations, institutes, universities,
and government labs.

As of 20 March 2006, 436 IBCs have received the survey letter.
A reply to the survey is required by the NIH Guidelines on
Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules at Section
IV-B-2-a(7), which stipulates that IBC minutes shall be made
available to the public upon request.

The survey seeks to assess compliance with the NIH Guidelines
and how IBCs are going about addressing issues raised by the
dramatic expansion of biodefense research, particularly studies
involving biological weapons agents (select agents).

Replies are requested by 28 April 2006, giving institutions
approximately six weeks to pull together a response. While the
Sunshine Project hopes to avoid doing so, it will lodge a formal
complaint with the US National Institutes of Health against any
IBC that fails to reply to the survey.

In 2004, the Sunshine Project conducted its first survey of
Instituional Biosafety Committees. The report of that survey can
be downloaded at the Sunshine Project website. Although the 2006
survey will reprise some features of the first, the current survey
will has a significantly different focus and rely on additional

A list of the institutions that have been surveyed can be found
at the link below. As the survey progresses, updates will be
posted there:

Surveyed institutions with questions about the survey should
visit the URL above for more information and contact details.