Increasingly, basic, translational, and clinical research has become more collaborative, resulting in multi-institutional studies that involve common approaches to a central question. For multi-institutional projects that involve recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids, institutional biosafety committee (IBC) review is generally required at each separate site. Duplicative review may result in both administrative costs and delays, without evidence of increased safety or protections, and investigator frustration. To address these inefficiencies, IBC leaders drafted a collaborative IBC Reliance Authorization Agreement. The Agreement allows one or more institutions to cede IBC review to a reviewing IBC that accepts the responsibility. The ability to cede IBC review, and the ability to rely on one decision on behalf of all collaborating institutions for a given protocol, removes delays in approval of multi-center protocols and collaborating principal investigators are able to focus on research rather than administrative tasks. In the process, we found promotion of this collaborative model led to stronger connections among institutions and among IBC members. The requirement for IBC member representation from the local community, however, limits its broader dissemination; we make several recommendations to mitigate this challenge.