[Federal Register: March 13, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 48)]
[Page 10952]



National Institutes of Health

Public Consultation on Personnel Reliability Issues

AGENCY: National Institutes of Health, HHS.

ACTION: Notice of public consultation meeting on personnel reliability
of individuals with access to Select Agents.


SUMMARY: The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB),
an advisory committee of the Federal Government, is hosting a public
consultation to engage the scientific community and general public in a
discussion of personnel reliability, with a focus on optimal
characteristics of individuals with access to Select Agents. This
public consultation is an opportunity for members of the scientific
community and general public to provide input on these important

Date and Time: The one day public consultation will be held on April 3,
2009 from 8 a.m.--5:15 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the Bethesda Marriott,
5151 Pooks Hill Rd., Bethesda, MD.

Biotechnology Activities, by e-mail at hillro@od.nih.gov or by
telephone at 301-435-2137. Faxes may be sent to the NIH Office of
Biotechnology Activities at 301-496-9839.



    Given heightened concerns about insider threats at organizations
that work with highly pathogenic agents, the Federal government has
charged the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB)
with recommending a personnel reliability program for individuals with
access to Select Agents. A portion of their recommendations will
address the measures that institutions should undertake to assess
whether individuals are trustworthy and reliable to work with these
    The Board appreciates the potential impact that any future
requirements for personnel reliability programs would have on
institutions and investigators, and thus is hosting a public
consultation meeting to engage the scientific community, research
organizations, and other stakeholders, including the general public, in
a discussion of the personnel reliability attributes being considered
by the NSABB.
    The meeting will be structured around several discussion panels.
The first panel will be background presentations on extant personnel
reliability programs and aspects of the current Select Agent Programs
that address personnel reliability. Two subsequent panels will explore
personnel reliability characteristics under consideration by the NSABB
and approaches for assessing them. The personnel characteristics
include scientific and professional integrity, compliance with
biosafety and biosecurity standards, emotional stability, sound
judgment, and freedom from vulnerability to coercion. Each panel will
include ample time for in-depth plenary discussion of the issues
surrounding each topic. Specific discussion questions will be posted
ahead of time on the NSABB Web site at: http://
    The Board is interested in hearing perspectives from such
individuals as investigators who work with Select Agents, senior
research officials at institutions registered for Select Agent work,
security think tank analysts, responsible officials under the Select
Agent program, and individuals who promote the responsible conduct of
research and have studied issues of research integrity. Others are
equally welcomed and encouraged to participate.
    The meeting is open to the public and free of charge. Due to
limited space, pre-registration is encouraged. To register, please
connect to http://www.biosecurityboard.gov. Notice of this meeting will
also be published in the Federal Register. Any groups or individuals
who cannot attend the meeting are encouraged to submit in advance of
the meeting written comments to: nsabb@od.nih.gov Please note that this
meeting will not be Web cast. More information about the NSABB is
available at http://www.biosecurityboard.gov.

    Dated: March 9, 2009.
Amy P. Patterson,
Director, Office of Biotechnology Activities, National Institutes of
 [FR Doc. E9-5526 Filed 3-12-09; 8:45 am]