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Protocol Applications and Submissions for the Institutional Biosafety Committee

Application and Submission Process

All Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) protocol applications (new and existing) must be submitted using the IBC Protocol Management online system. This will be the only accepted source for submission of new protocols and amendments to active protocols.

IBC Protocol Management will allow you to:

  • view all information submitted and approved as part of your existing protocol
  • view the training status of all personnel listed on your protocol
  • submit personnel changes and amendments
  • obtain a copy of your approval letter(s).

If you are planning to submit a new protocol or to amend an existing protocol, and have any questions, please contact the IBC Program Director who will assist you with this process at or (540) 231-1910.

IBC Application Types

An IBC Activities Determination is a process in which the IBC program staff will review a summary of your activities to provide you with

  • A determination of whether or not your research activities require IBC approval.  This determination is useful if you are unsure if you need to start a full IBC protocol application.
  • Confirmation that your research activities do not require IBC approval.  This type of determination is useful if you'd like to register your activities with the IBC program office to have an IBC protocol number associated with the described work.  The IBC protocol number can be used for proposal/agreement submissions in SUMMIT, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and Institutional Review Board protocol applications, and as a reference to other collaborating institutions.

If your activities do not require IBC approval, you will receive a confirmation email and letter, with an IBC protocol number, that can be provided to anyone requesting this type of confirmation (e.g., other institutions, funding agencies, etc.).  Examples of activities that may benefit from requesting an IBC Activities Determination include:

  • Those activities that only require BSL-1 containment and do not involve the use of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules. 
  • Generating mutants through the use of non-recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid (non-rsNA) processes (e.g., UV, chemical) or isolation of natural or spontaneous mutants.
  • The use, culturing, maintenance, and/or breeding of naturally occurring or non-rsNA mutants, or non-modified RG-1 agents.
  • The use of commercially available, FDA-approved, non-regulated genetically modified or engineered plants.

To submit an IBC Activities Determination, use IBC Protocol Management to submit an IBC Activities Determination request.

You will need to use IBC Protocol Management to submit your new protocol. Use your Virginia Tech PID and password to log into the system. To begin a new protocol, click “Start New Protocol”.

The online system will guide you through the completion of your IBC protocol, and submission of the completed application to the IBC program office.

The user manual provides an overview of the online system, and how to navigate through the system. This manual also provides information regarding the submission of new protocols and the actions that can be performed after a protocol has been approved.

All offline documents that will need to be uploaded as part of your IBC protocol can be downloaded from within IBC Protocol Management.  

You will need to use IBC Protocol Management to amend your existing protocol. Use your Virginia Tech PID and password to log into the system. Click on the protocol number that needs to be updated.

You can only initiate a single update at a time. If you require updates to multiple sections of the protocol, please submit them as a single amendment.

If you only need to update your list of personnel, choose “Start a Personnel Change Application.”

To update any other section(s) of the protocol, choose “Start an Amendment Application.”  You can update personnel during an amendment.

Full committee protocols are active for a period of 3 years. The expiration date for the protocol is provided in the protocol approval letter and in IBC Protocol Management.  Prior to the expiration of the protocol, you will need to submit a renewal protocol. You will receive reminder messages from IBC Protocol Management beginning 28 weeks prior to the expiration of your protocol. It is suggested that you submit your renewal at least 2 months prior to the expiration date to avoid disruption of your research activities. 

The IBC renewal involves a full review of your protocol by you.  You will have the opportunity to edit any section of the protocol as needed.  You will need to review all sections, but we recommend that you pay close attention to your personnel list, lab-specific biosafety manual, and standard operating procedures because these are the items that typically change over time and will need to be updated.

You can submit your renewal at any time, starting 28 weeks prior to the expiration date.  When the renewal is approved, regardless of when it was submitted, your expiration month and day will remain the same.

IBC Pathogen Safety Data Sheet (PSDS) Library

If your activities will involve the use of human or non-human primate material, RG2 agents, and/or RG3 agents, you will need to include a PSDS for each of those agents.  The IBC has a library of PSDS sheets that have been reviewed and approved by the IBC.  Please use the library to obtain the PSDS files applicable to your protocol.

If a PSDS is not listed for the agent you are using, please complete one of the templates that can be downloaded from the library.  Before starting a new template, you may also contact the IBC program office (, to ask whether a draft version is available for a specific agent.

Standard Operating Procedure Library

The IBC has a library of common standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been reviewed and approved by the IBC.  Please use the SOP library to obtain a copy of an SOP applicable to your protocol.

E. coli Strain Information for IBC Protocols Applications

If your activities involve the use of E. coli, non-pathogenic and/or pathogenic, it is necessary that you include the specific strain(s) that you will be using.  Some non-pathogenic strains of E. coli can be used for work that is considered exempt from the NIH Guidelines.  Although you still need to submit an IBC protocol to work with the exempt strains, some of the BSL-1 work may be able to be started after the IBCP completes their initial review of the application.  To make that determination, you must include the specific strain(s) of E. coli being used.  

You can use the IBC’s E. coli strain information page to determine if the strains you will be using are considered exempt, non-exempt, or RG2.  

Offline Documents needed for IBC Protocol Applications

Some of the documents below are not required for all protocols. It is recommended that you use IBC Protocol Management as a guide to which documents are applicable to your specific protocol before completing any of the documents below.

All documents listed below can also be downloaded from IBC Protocol Management as you complete your protocol application.

University Biosafety Manual (online)

This manual contains the SOPs and requirements to be followed when working in a Virginia Tech BSL-1 and/or BSL-2 lab. The university biosafety manual is maintained and updated by Virginia Tech Environmental Health and Safety.  This manual is separate from your lab-specific Biosafety manual.

All personnel and principal investigators will need to review this manual. You do not need to submit any information or print this manual, but all personnel should be aware of how to access the manual online.

The manual may be updated without notice. For this reason, we do not suggest saving a copy on computers in your lab. Always download the most recent version online.