For the fourth consecutive year, the NIH Office of Science Policy has designated October as National Biosafety Month. 

The purpose of National Biosafety Month is to encourage institutions to refocus efforts related to biosafety and to undertake activities aimed at strengthening biosafety programs. In past years, NIH has promoted themes such as transparency, laboratory accountability, and public engagement. This year, the theme is “promoting biosafety through good governance.”

We strongly support National Biosafety Month and encourage everyone to think about biosafety, biosecurity, and responsible conduct best practices in teaching and research.

We request that you take a few minutes to review the safety practices in your labs, explore the safety information resources available to you, and engage those working in your labs in discussions of good biosafety practices and principles. Some activities you could undertake include:

  • Reviewing laboratory-specific biosafety manuals – look at a sample template;
  • Reviewing laboratory standard operating procedures and safety manuals – find guidance documents and resources;
  • Performing an updated risk assessment to see if additional biosafety training is needed in your lab; and
  • Decluttering and cleaning your space — an uncluttered lab is the easiest to clean!

The University Research Compliance Office will also be taking good governance steps during the month of October. We have already assembled a subcommittee of the Institutional Biosafety Committee to review and revise the IBC protocol form, we are looking at electronic tools to assist us in BSL 2 inspections, and we will be examining our standard operating procedures and other guidance documents to see if they need to be updated. Finally, we are working with campus partners to increase transparency and communication. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, we would love to hear them!

To learn more about National Biosafety Month and the activities that Office of Science Policy has planned, please view the “ Under the Poliscope” blog " National Biosafety Month: The New Fall Classic." To learn more about URCO and biosafety and biosecurity, please visit our website or email us

— Cheryl Doerr, associate vice president for research compliance