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Required permits for university work and research

Select an option below to learn more about which permits you may need depending on the activity you will perform. 

The U. S. Department of Agriculture, through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), regulates the transport and environmental release of materials that could potentially harm U.S. agriculture. APHIS permits may be required for the import or transport of animal or plant pests or pathogens or the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment. The following APHIS Agencies regulate these activities:

Individuals requiring controlled substances for research or academic courses must obtain their own individual DEA and State of Iowa licensing. DEA license holders are responsible for ensuring that all regulatory requirements are met, including proper storage, use, and disposal. Any controlled substances received on campus must be entered into the ISU Hazardous Chemical Inventory database. 

The Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regulates the import of biological materials that could cause illness in humans or genetically modified organisms. For assistance, refer to or contact

IBC approval

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) must approve any teaching or research project that involves:

  • Use of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, including transgenic animals or plants
  • Use of human, animal, or plant pathogens (for example, bacteria, viruses, prions, parasites)
  • Plant pathogens not indigenous to Iowa (e.g., bacteria, viruses, parasites)
  • Use of biological toxins
  • Administration of experimental biological products to animals
  • Field releases of plant pests or genetically modified organisms

The IBC is overseen by the Office of Research Ethics (ORE). The NIH Guidelines online training course is available in Workday Learning.

  • Information about select agents and toxins is available in the Select Agent Information for Veterinary Diagnosticians training in Workday Learning.
  • If you possess or intend to possess select agents, contact the Responsible Official ((515) 294-5359) for specific security requirements.

Before hot work can be performed outside of designated hot work areas, a Hot Work Permit must first be obtained. Hot Work Permits can be obtained from permit-authorizing individuals who have been designated as such by department supervisors. Visit our Hot Work Permit Program page for more details about the requirements and to access forms.

Outside contractors working on the Iowa State University campus must have hot work safety procedures as a part of their project safety programs. Contractors working on capital projects at Iowa State University must follow the hot work guidelines outlined in project specifications.