Associate Biosafety Officer

Updated: 4 months ago


Campus Services


Job Summary

The Associate Biological Safety Officer (ABSO) is responsible for providing support to the Biosafety Team within the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Office and contributing to a culture of safety at Harvard. This position offers a great opportunity for an entry level biologist, EH&S professional, or person looking for a career transition to gain experience in the biosafety field. Primary responsibilities include providing technical and field support to the EH&S Biosafety Team and assisting in the implementation of programs and services relating to use of biohazardous materials and/or recombinant and synthetic nucleic acids within Harvard schools. The ABSO will participate in a variety of support tasks and will report to the Biosafety Program Manager. Duties may include acting as a customer liaison between university clients (such as laboratory principal investigators and support staff), Facilities Management, and EH&S. This position provides emergency response support on a rotational basis.

Position Description

  • Facilitates the integration of biosafety into laboratory operations and promotes safe work practices based on regulatory requirements, best management practices, and University Policy.
  • Maintains proficiency in regulations, standards, guidelines and trends in biological safety and environmental health and safety. Communicates requirements to EH&S colleagues and University lab customers, as required.
  • Collaborates with EH&S Lab Safety Advisors and other Biosafety Team members to perform inspections, compliance reviews, and hazard assessments of research laboratories, research animal facilities, and other support facilities. 
  • Authors timely, peer-reviewed compliance reports and monitors corrective actions. 
  • Perform risk assessments of biological research protocols, process applications for registration with the Harvard Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and participate in IBC meetings.
  • Prepares and assists with safety training including chemical, biological, general, and physical hazard protection in laboratories, effective safety and exposure control device use, hazardous materials shipping, and other customized trainings.
  • Updates and drafts policies, guidelines, and procedures for the University’s Biological Safety Program (BL1 to BL3), as assigned. 
  • Aids in the response and investigation of laboratory-related accidents or exposures.
  • Supports preparation for and assists in the conducting of regulatory site visits.
  • Assists with additional EH&S project and program work, as needed and assigned.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelors or comparable degree in a biological, life science, or related-safety discipline or equivalent experience. A minimum of three years of that experience must be relevant work experience. Or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Commitment to valuing diversity and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment.
  • A strong willingness and excitement to learn and grow, both independently and in a team environment.
  • Must be able to use database applications, Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Word, SharePoint, and Teams.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Past experience in a university research environment or EH&S program.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced setting, handling multiple assignments with diverse clients in various academic research areas (e.g., biology, chemistry).
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, clear communication style, and attention to detail

Special Requirements

This position includes being on call on a rotating basis (5-8 times per year) as a cross-trained EHS Responder.  Prior to inclusion in the EHS Emergency Response Program, candidate suitability and availability for participation will be assessed by the manager, including completion of a training period (1 year minimum).   EHS Emergency Responders are required to carry a cell phone and occasionally respond to emergencies during non-business hours.

Physical Requirements

Must be able to access any area of the University to perform designated work functions including but not limited to inspections, job safety assessments, and emergency response.

Working Conditions

On Campus Requirements                                                               

This position is expected to be on-site periodically (approximately 2-3 days a week), as required for certain job tasks (e.g., inspections, etc.).   Periodic travel between campuses may be required.

Additional Information

The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines

Emergency Status Designation: Critical Operations Personnel

Pre-Employment Screening:    Identify, Social Security Verification, Education, Drug Testing, Criminal Background, SORI


We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

396056 Environmental Health & Safety

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)


Environmental Health & Safety


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

CORI, Criminal, Drug Testing, Education, Employment, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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