Announcing CATS Safety & Changes to IBC Protocol Submission

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Office for Research Protections     |     Institutional Review Board (IBC)

CATS Safety

The CATS Safety system is the new online submission system for IBC protocols; the first pilot phase launched in Spring 2021. CATS Safety will provide investigators, staff and committee members with a streamlined, integrated and more user-friendly process and system for managing the submission, review and approval of biosafety protocols. All new protocols should be submitted in CATS Safety. Training Requirements for active primary investigators and protocol team members are unchanged with the transition to CATS Safety. 

To prepare for the transition to CATS Safety, it is recommended that researchers and study team staff complete the following actions:

  • Review existing active protocols 
  • Verify if any protocols should be closed and if need be request closures for protocols which are no longer active
  • Submit modifications to active protocols to ensure the current state of research is reflected
  • Ensure protocol team members have completed applicable CITI training requirements

For more information, read about CATS Safety development updates.

Changes to University Park IBC Submissions

In addition to the introduction of CATS Safety, researchers submitting to the University Park IBC will eventually change how they report their recombinant or biohazardous material research to the IBC committee. Currently, researchers are submitting protocols based upon the research they are conducting. Moving forward, researchers will be submitting their collective recombinant or biohazardous material research as one registration to cover multiple projects. The College of Medicine IBC has successfully adopted this model of one lab-based protocol. This change will minimize how many protocols primary investigators need to manage and will lessen necessary amendments. The IBC compliance team will provide support to researchers as they transition how they report their research to the IBC.  

Through the change, research projects involving BSL1 and BSL2 work practices will now be submitted under one protocol submission in CATS Safety. Projects requiring BSL3 work practices should be submitted as a standalone protocol and should not be combined with protocols involving BSL1 and BSL2 work practices. Additionally, if a researcher is working with more than one type of BL3 material, the expectation would be that the researcher submits a separate protocol for each BL3 material included in their research. 

To manage this change efficiently, the IBC compliance team will identify protocols nearing the 3 year approval end date and contact researchers about next steps to move to a lab-based protocol. During this time of transition into CATS Safety, the compliance team will work closely with researchers to aid in adjusting protocol expirations dates to ensure protocols do not expire. If desired, researchers can submit their lab-based protocol prior to being contacted by the compliance office. However, the IBC compliance team does request that researchers speak to the compliance team prior to submission of a lab-based protocol.