Review of Animal Use at the University of Illinois




  • All research, teaching, and outreach activities at the University of Illinois involving vertebrate animals and cephalopods must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before the activity begins.
  • Once the activity begins, any proposed changes must be submitted to the IACUC as an amendment to the protocol. Changes must be approved by the IACUC before they are implemented.
  • Once approved, an IACUC protocol is valid for three years.
  • If the approved use of animals is expected to continue beyond three years, a new protocol must be submitted and approved before the active protocol expires to prevent interruption of the animal activity.


The university is registered with the United States Department of Agriculture as a research facility in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (Public Law 89-544) and the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The university maintains an animal welfare assurance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health. The animal care program is also accredited by AAALAC International.

Procedure to Receive IACUC Approval

Initial Submission, Review, and Approval Process

  1. The principal investigator (PI) completes and submits a proposal for activities involving animals (henceforth referred to as a 'protocol') to the IACUC, using the IACUC Online Protocol system.
  2. An IACUC Office staff member performs a pre-review of the protocol for completeness, general accuracy, and alignment with current regulations, and communicates suggestions for clarification to the PI for revision prior to dissemination to the IACUC members for formal review.
  3. Both an IACUC committee member and a veterinarian perform primary reviews, and any questions or concerns are forwarded to the PI by IACUC Office.
  4. The PI responds to all questions and makes appropriate changes to the protocol. The responses are forwarded to the primary reviewers, who then have an opportunity to ask any follow-up questions. Once all concerns have been resolved, the protocol is brought to the entire committee, either via an electronic 'Weekly Review List' or at a convened monthly meeting of the IACUC (known as “Full Committee Review” or FCR).
  5. Regardless of the method of committee review, a simple majority of the IACUC must vote on each protocol to either
  • (a) approve;
  • (b) require modifications to secure approval; or
  • (c) withhold approval of proposed activities.

Protocol approval may occur via a vote in the convened meeting, or by designated member review after the protocol achieves support from a simple majority of the IACUC via the Weekly Review List.

All personnel listed on an IACUC Protocol must complete Mandatory Training Requirements before an IACUC protocol can be approved. At a minimum, this includes:

  • Basic Training Program for Animal Users
  • Occupational Health and Safety program requirements
  • Animal Care and Use Risk Assessment
  • Health Screening Questionnaire

In addition to these mandatory minimum training requirements, other training module may be required depending on the content of the protocol and the species involved. Managing units may also have additional training requirements for personnel working with animals.

If an IACUC protocol involves biological, chemical, controlled substance, or radiation risks for investigators and/or animals, then the PI must also satisfy the appropriate Division of Research Safety (DRS) requirements before IACUC protocol approval can occur. DRS manages the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), the Radiation and Laser Safety Committee (RLSC), and the Controlled Substances Surveillance Program. Importantly, alignment of the PI between compliance groups is required, such that the same person must be listed as the PI for all relevant DRS registrations and applicable IACUC protocols.

Notification of IACUC protocol approval must be received before any animal acquisition or use can proceed. Additionally, any modifications to an approved protocol must be made through the IACUC Protocol Amendment Review process, and amendments are required to be approve before implementation.

Importantly, Achieving IACUC protocol approval does not guarantee availability of animals, space, infrastructure, or other elements described in the IACUC protocol. Thus, the PI is ultimately responsible for arranging logistics and operations for the conduct of approved animal activities.



Role of IACUC:

Federal regulations require each institution using vertebrate animals and cephalopods in research, teaching, or testing to appoint an IACUC that provides oversight to the animal use program. The IACUC is composed of research scientists, veterinarians, non-scientists, and community members in accordance with federal laws and regulations.

Role of the Principal Investigator (PI):

The PI is responsible for securing IACUC approval for any proposed use of animals or changes to approved use of animals. The PI is also responsible for ensuring that all personnel working under their direction have adequate training and are familiar with the animal use activities for which they are approved. The PI must also achieve approval from other campus compliance groups, including the Division of Research Safety (DRS), before IACUC protocol approval can occur; all associated activities involving animals must list the same PI across compliance groups.  Finally, the PI is responsible for established logistical support for, and operational management of, all animal activities described in an approval IACUC protocol.

Role of the Animal Care Program (ACP) Veterinary Staff:

The ACP veterinarians and veterinary technicians provide veterinary medical care, review, and advice for animal use protocols, training for surgical procedures and analgesia and anesthesia applications, and other general support for the research enterprise. The campus Attending Veterinarian, who directs overall operations of the ACP, also has the authority to intervene and stop any animal use activity that harms animals welfare or is performed outside of an approved protocol.

Role of the Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHS):

OHS identifies and assesses health and safety risks to personnel working with or around animals. The OHS specialist and medical reviewer collaborate with the IACUC and other compliance units to provide education, training, and medical recommendations to animal caretakers and users.


Approved Date

Revised Date