World Organisation for Animal Health

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Collaborating Centres


The criteria to be applied in the selection of institutions for designation as an OIE Reference Centre are as follows:

  • the institution’s ability, capacity and readiness to provide those services described under the Terms of Reference for OIE Reference Centres that are intended to form the basis of their relationship with the Organisation, including, for example, the ability to receive biological samples from other OIE Member Countries;
  • the scientific and technical standing of the institution concerned at the national and international levels, presence of veterinary experts within scientific teams and, for Reference Laboratories, conformity with OIE and other international standards for laboratory quality assurance, biosafety and biosecurity measures;
  • the place the institution occupies in the Member’s animal health, scientific or educational structures;
  • the quality of its scientific and technical leadership including internationally recognised expertise in the field of its competence, and, for Collaborating Centres, the number and qualifications of its staff;
  • the institution's prospective stability in terms of personnel, activity and funding;
  • the working relationship which the institution has developed with other institutions in the territory of the Member, as well as at the regional and global levels;
  • the technical and geographical relevance of the institution and its activities to OIE’s programme priorities.

Internal Rules


Applications for the title of Reference Centre of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) shall be submitted to the Director General by the Delegate of the OIE Member Country to which the institution belongs or by the corresponding Regional Commission.


The head of the institution shall provide the Director General with a statement of interest for the institution and its staff covering potential conflicts of interest between it as an OIE institution and any commercial entity in accordance with the procedure established by the Director General. The head of the institution shall ensure that the institution and its staff respect the legitimate confidentiality of information with which they may be entrusted in the performance of their functions for the OIE and shall submit such an undertaking to the Director General.
A Reference Laboratory should respect the intellectual property rights on samples received and not use those results, without consent, for more than determining the principal characteristics of the pathogen necessary for the country of origin to carry out an epidemiological inquiry and to decide about its control strategy. In the case of positive results for diseases that are reportable to OIE, the Reference Laboratory should immediately inform the Delegate of the OIE Member Country from which the samples originated, as well as the OIE Headquarters.


Applications received shall be presented by the Director General to the Council for endorsement, after consultation with the relevant Regional (for Collaborating Centres) and Specialist Commissions.  Applications shall be selected on the basis of the criteria given above. However, in principle, no more than one Reference Laboratory shall be designated for the same pathogen or disease in the same country and no more than one Collaborating Centre shall be designated for the same category of specialty in the same region or, exceptionally, in a sub-region.


Applications endorsed by the Council shall be presented to the Assembly for approval.


The Director General shall notify approved institutions of their designation as an OIE Reference Centre, with a formal title to be used as an OIE Reference Centre.  The Director General shall also inform the OIE Delegate of the host Member Country accordingly.


This notification shall confer on the institution the right to use the title ‘OIE Reference Laboratory or ‘OIE Collaborating Centre’ as appropriate and the OIE emblem on all documents issued by the Reference Centre in its official capacity, and for the Reference Laboratory, the right of the designated specialist to use the title of OIE Expert.


The Head of the Reference Centre shall be responsible for the overall implementation of the terms of reference, and for a Collaborating Centre, shall act as the sole interface with the OIE. For a Reference Laboratory, the OIE Expert is responsible for the implementation of the technical aspects of the terms of reference and may delegate specific responsibilities to other experts on an ad hoc basis. Experts associated with OIE Reference Centres exercise their function within the rules applicable to OIE Experts.


The Reference Centre shall provide to the Director General a brief report of activities related to their  terms of reference at the end of each calendar year, according to the template established by the OIE Headquarters. This report will be made available to all Member Countries.


The Reference Centre may revoke the designation at any time.  The designation shall be withdrawn if the Reference Centre fails to comply with the provisions of the Terms of Reference and the present Rules. In such cases, the Director General of the OIE, after consulting an appropriate Specialist Commission, proposes the withdrawal to the World Assembly of Delegates.


Any major change within the institution which may impair the function of the Reference Centre (particularly changes in personnel and in material or financial resources) shall be reported immediately to the Director General who will consult the relevant Regional and Specialist Commissions on the continuing status of the institution as a Reference Centre.