In 2009, during the European Biosafety Association (EBSA) Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, discussions were held between the UK Institute for Safety in Technology and Research (ISTR) and the University of Edinburgh regarding the setting up of a biosafety training centre to serve the North of the UK, to complement training provision in other parts of the country.

Between December 2004 and April 2011, the University of Edinburgh led a project funded by the Scottish Funding Council (for Higher and Further Education) designed to co-ordinate and enhance occupational health and safety practice and performance across the tertiary education sector in Scotland, a sector which then consisted of 18 Universities and 43 Colleges – the CHASTE (Co-ordinating Health and Safety in Tertiary Education) Project.  These two concepts were brought together with the setting up of the Northern Biosafety Training Centre (NBTC), which involved collaboration between four Scottish Universities (St. Andrews, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh) administered under the CHASTE Project.

Biosafety Training Institute (BTI)

The CHASTE Project ended in April 2011, but spawned a number of sustainable legacies. One such legacy is the institution of the University of Edinburgh’s Biosafety Training Institute (BTI), which was born out of the NBTC, and is managed by the University of Edinburgh, originally under the leadership of Alastair Reid, Director of Health and Safety.  On Alastair’s retirement, in summer 2018, Lawrence Dickson took over as Institute Director.

Tutoring input for the BTI is supplied by colleagues from the Biosafety and Training Units of the corporate Health and Safety Department of the University of Edinburgh, who have considerable experience in both general and specialist biosafety. Expert external input is added, as and when required.


  • Provide a professional and cost effective training service to enhance and complement reputation, experience and competence in regard to biological safety in Universities, and other institutions.
  • Provide a location for training which is primarily more geographically suitable and cost effective for Universities and other Institutions in Scotland, and the North of England.


  • Cost effective and affordable quality training resulting in a recognised qualification
  • Attractive Scottish venue with easy public transport access
  • Collaboration with partner universities and institutions for training provision
  • Consolidation and expansion of knowledge and skills within education and research establishments