Biosafety Unit

Genetic Modification Biological Safety Officers

The Genetic Modification Biological Safety Officer's role is to advise and assist the Head of School in the health and safety management related to biological risks, including genetic modification work.

In conjunction with the University Biological Safety Adviser, School Genetic Modification Biological Safety Officers are expected to advise on all aspects of biological safety.

Each Head of School is required to appoint a local GM Biological Safety Officer (and deputy) to cover those areas where genetic modification work is undertaken. In some Schools, activities are split between different sites or buildings in which case it may be necessary to appoint more than one GMBSO.

Training requirements


Full list of duties expected of a GMBSO.

Genetic Modification and Biological Safety Committees (GMBSC)

It is a statutory requirement under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations that a Genetic Modification Safety Committee be constituted to advise on risk assessments and all risk assessments must be reviewed and approved by the local GM Safety Committee in advance of the work starting.

In addition to this minimum duty, the Head of School may choose to extend the committee's remit to advise on and consider other aspects of biological safety. These committees are thus designated as GM and Biological Safety Committees (GMBSC). If not then the School (Area) Health and Safety Committee's remit is assumed to include biological safety matters.

Appointment, remit and membership

Each Head of School must appoint a local School Genetic Modification and Biological Safety Committee to cover each area where biological or genetic modification work is carried out in the University. Some Schools will need to have more than one committee if they have significant amounts of biological and genetic modification work being undertaken on more than one main site.

The University Biological Safety Adviser will sit on all GMBSC within the University to ensure consistency in approach and outcome of risk assessments and to help ensure that risk assessments are peer reviewed within a sensible time frame, before work is due to commence.

Guidance on the remit and membership of GM and Biological Safety Committees is provided in the document below. Minutes of GMBSC meetings should be provided to relevant School (Area) Health and Safety Committees.

GMBSC Operational Guidance