NBBTP/IRTA Professional Development

NBBTP Hexagonal grid

Hexagonal grid displaying the seven core components of the NBBTP curriculum


Curriculum Overview

The NBBTP/IRTA curriculum is based on seven core components: Biosafety; Biocontainment; Biosecurity; Occupational Health and Safety; Animal Health and Safety, Leadership and Management, and Applied Research. Through mentored didactic and experiential learning opportunities, Fellows will learn principles and practices that will build their knowledge and confidence as biorisk professionals.

Year 1

The purpose of the first year is to establish a strong foundation in biorisk principles and practices. Fellows will first learn about occupational health and safety, including general themes related to risk assessment, risk management, regulatory compliance, and hazard control. Biosafety, biocontainment, and biosecurity topics will next be emphasized to form the core of the biorisk curriculum. In this way, specific biorisk concepts will be more easily understood within the context of the larger safety management enterprise. Animal health and safety subject matter will concurrently aim to direct students toward understanding the unique challenges and considerations common with in vivo research. Since Fellows will be expected to become national leaders in the biorisk field, they will be offered opportunities to learn leadership and management lessons through communication development, networking, and practical skill-building. Fellows will be given opportunities to attend conferences, workshops, and symposia throughout the program. Toward the conclusion of their first year, Fellows will be expected to draft a formal proposal describing a biorisk research question they wish to pursue and to use it as a foundation for developing a capstone project.

Year 2

The purpose of the second year is to grow Fellows into confident and independently practicing biorisk professionals. Instilled with basic knowledge in core subjects, Fellows will have the opportunity to design their own biorisk curriculum to suit their interests and to professionally distinguish themselves. Through customized coursework, carefully chosen developmental assignments, and novel applied research, Fellows will build their own brand while contributing to the field. A four-month assignment as an IC safety lead and opportunities to teach safety further support professional development.

To demonstrate their knowledge and contribute to the biorisk enterprise, Fellows must complete a capstone project. Fellows will be expected to create a poster or to submit a journal publication sharing their project. Finally, a capstone presentation will prove Fellows are ready to graduate and therefore uniquely capable of leading and directing biorisk management programs in the future.

Training incorporates the physical, chemical, biological and behavioral sciences. Topics include:

  • Aerobiology
  • Animal Care and Use
  • Applied research
  • Biocontainment
  • Biosafety
  • Biosurety
  • Biorisk
  • Chemical Hygiene
  • Communication
  • Decontamination, Disinfection, and Sterilization
  • Emergency Management
  • Engineering for the Biosafety Professional
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Hazardous Materials Packaging
  • HAZWOPER Training
  • High-Containment Training
  • Import, Transfers, Exports
  • Leadership
  • Maximum-Containment Training
  • Media
  • Occupational Health
  • Policy
  • Primary Barriers
  • Problem-Solving
  • Risk Assessment
  • Select Agents and Toxins
  • Technology Control

Successful Completion

In order to graduate from the program, Fellows must:

  • Complete essential requirements including NIH training, required courses and conferences, and hands-on training.
  • Engage in mentored experiential learning opportunities.
  • Engage in independent practice by facilitating meetings, teaching a safety course, and providing dedicated oversight to an NIH Institute or Center.
  • Complete at least two individual Developmental Assignments and presentations.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in applying safety principles to laboratory and other workplace operations.
  • Attend and present to NIH-wide, institutional, and divisional committee meetings.
  • Complete complementary courses and activities to enhance the essential program, emphasize career direction, and promote the accomplishment of Fellows’ professional goals.
  • Complete a capstone project on a biorisk question of interest.
Content last reviewed on