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What is the IACUC?

"IACUC" stands for "Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee." The existence of an IACUC is mandated by federal regulations - both the Animal Welfare Act and Public Health Service (PHS) Policy. Institutions that receive federal funding and/or are involved in any animal-related activities are required to establish an IACUC for review of all programs and projects involving animals. Roger Williams University is committed to the humane treatment of animals in its programs as well as any animal visiting the campus.

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What does the IACUC do and what are its responsibilities?

The IACUC is responsible for: reviewing ALL proposed uses of live vertebrate animals in teaching, research, exhibition, and testing, including regular review of all ongoing projects; inspecting the animal facilities at least once every six months; reviewing the IACUC program every six months; submitting semiannual reports based on the semiannual inspections and program reviews to the Provost; submitting an annual report to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfares (OLAW), detailing changes in the animal care and use program, changes in IACUC membership, and the results of the semiannual inspections and program reviews; educating and training personnel involved in animal projects; investigating all concerns involving the care and use of animals at RWU; suspending previously approved animal-related activity if the committee determines that the activity is not being conducted in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, PHS policy, or RWU Assurance; and making recommendations to the Provost regarding the animal care and use program, RWU animal facilities, and the care and use training programs available to RWU personnel.

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What kinds of projects must be submitted for IACUC review?

The IACUC must review ALL projects involving the use of ANY vertebrate animals for ANY purpose (including, but not limited to, agricultural, biomedical, and behavioral research, teaching, testing, and exhibition projects) to ensure compliance with University policy and federal regulations.

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Who must submit projects to the IACUC?

Any faculty or staff member who is the Principal Investigator or Director for any animal activity must submit an IACUC protocol. Students who will be conducting an animal project (e.g. for a thesis project) should submit the project in collaboration with their faculty adviser. Such student protocols should be submitted with the adviser listed as the Principal Investigator and the student listed as the Co-Principal Investigator.

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What if the animals will be on campus for just one day for a special activity or demonstration?

The RWU IACUC, under their Assurance with OLAW, assumes the responsibility for animal care for animals on campus. To ensure the well being and proper care of animals on campus, any individual (faculty, student or organization) who wishes to bring animals onto campus must submit a Visiting Vertebrate form to the IACUC along with notifying Public Safety of their intentions. The Visiting Vertebrate form and instructions can be found on-line.

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What must be submitted to the IACUC?

Either a new protocol form or an amendment form may be submitted for review. Amendment forms are only submitted to seek approval for changes to a previously approved IACUC protocol. Each person involved with the project must also make available documentation that they have completed required training courses for working with animals.

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Where can I get IACUC forms?

Forms are available on the IACUC website or through the IACUC chairperson.

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When must projects be submitted to the IACUC for review?

All paperwork must be submitted and approvals granted BEFORE any work with animals is initiated. Completed applications must be submitted to the IACUC chairperson no later than 10 days prior to the meeting. There is a designated review process for amendments and continuing reviews between meetings, please contact the IACUC chairperson for more information.

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How long does the review process take?

The length of the review period may vary from one week to several weeks, depending on nature of the project and when the protocol is submitted. The PI may be required to justify the protocol or provide additional supportive information to the committee.

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Where should IACUC protocols be submitted?

All IACUC forms and paperwork should be submitted to the IACUC chairperson.

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How often does the IACUC Committee meet?

The committee is mandated to meet at least twice a year. Additional meetings are scheduled to meet the needs of protocol submission for both the fall and spring semesters.

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When can I find out whether my application has received committee approval?

Verbal or E-mail notification can be provided by the IACUC chairperson within 24 hours after the Animal Care and Use Committee's meeting. Approved IACUC protocols must be signed by the Provost before the research can begin. Applicants are usually notified in writing within 4-5 working days.

How long is an approved protocol good for?

OLAW regulations state that protocols will expire three years from the date of approval. All approved protocols are required to be reviewed annually and annual progress reports must be submitted for approval.

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If I received word that my project was approved, when can I start my project?

Approved IACUC protocols must be signed by the Provost before the research can begin. You may start using animals immediately once the signed protocol is received and you have been granted full approval.

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Will I be notified when it is time for me to renew my protocol?

Yes. The IACUC chair will notify you by an e-mail at least 4 weeks in advance when your application is expired. It is required to submit a new protocol with updated justification for continuation of the project.

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What if I don't plan to renew my protocol?

A Project/Protocol Closure form must be submitted to the IACUC stating the reason for the end of the protocol along with the disposition of the animals.

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When should I report changes or modifications to my protocol?

PIs are required to notify the committee of any changes made to any currently active protocol. Typical changes may include, project personnel, numbers and species of animals, modifications to the experimental methods or procedures, special requirements for animal husbandry and housing, etc.

If you are reporting minor changes to the approved protocol, you may the appropriate change forms which can be found on-line. RWU’s IACUC has a Change in Personnel form for adding or deleting students or other personnel from the protocol. Any change to the status of the PI is considered to be a significant change and will require a new protocol. Please keep in mind when making changes in the personnel, new personnel are required to complete the IACUC training prior to working with the animals.

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