Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee

6 December 2007

No. 7 (07-08)


Biosecurity in UK research laboratories

The Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee is to conduct an inquiry into biosecurity in UK research laboratories. The Committee invites evidence on the following points:

  • the current capacity for research on dangerous pathogenic material in the UK and the capability to conduct research on the causative agents of disease that may emerge at a future time;

  • the state of biological containment facilities in the UK;

  • laboratory inspection regimes and the rationale and practicalities of the licensing system;

  • biosafety training provision for staff working in containment facilities;

  • the maintenance and recording practices surrounding the storage and transportation of dangerous pathogens;

  • measures implemented when pathogenic material cannot be accounted for; and

  • the role of universities in overseeing security clearance for research students working with dangerous pathogens.

The Committee would welcome written evidence from interested organisations and individuals addressing these points by noon on Friday 26 January 2008.

Guidelines for the submission of evidence

Evidence should be submitted in Word format, and should be sent via e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should include a brief executive summary. Those submitting evidence are reminded that evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted no public use should be made of it, but those wishing to publish their evidence before it is published by the Committee are invited to contact the Clerk of the Committee to obtain permission to do so. Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:

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Committee Membership is as follows:

Mr Phil Willis (Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
Adam Afriyie (Conservative, Windsor)
Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour, City of Durham)
Mr Ian Cawsey (Labour, Brigg & Goole)
Mrs Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire)
Dr Ian Gibson (Labour, Norwich North)
Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)
Dr Brian Iddon (Labour, Bolton South East)
Mr Gordon Marsden (Labour, Blackpool South)
Dr Bob Spink (Conservative, Castle Point)
Ian Stewart (Labour, Eccles)
Mr Graham Stringer (Labour, Manchester, Blackley)
Dr Desmond Turner (Labour, Brighton Kemptown)
Mr Rob Wilson (Conservative, Reading East)

Committee Website:

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