Main Content

You are here

Policy: Review of Animal Use at the University of Illinois (IACUC)

Policy: Review of Animal Use at the University of Illinois (IACUC)


  • All research, teaching, and outreach activities at the University of Illinois involving vertebrate animals 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.
  • The approval period is three years; the IACUC conducts mandatory annual reviews.
  • 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 in order to avoid a stop in animal work.


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.

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 (protocol) to the IACUC.
2. An IACUC staff member performs a pre-review of the protocol for completeness and general accuracy, and communicates suggestions for clarification to the PI for revision prior to sending out for formal review.
3. An IACUC committee member and veterinarian perform the primary review.  Any questions or concerns are forwarded to the PI by IACUC staff.
4. The PI submits a response to the questions and makes appropriate changes to the protocol.  The response is 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 meeting of the IACUC (“Full Committee Review”), which are held monthly.
5. Regardless of the method of committee review, a quorum of the IACUC must vote to either:
     a. approve;
     b. require modifications to secure approval; or
     c. withhold approval of proposed activities.

Protocol approval may occur via vote in the convened meeting, or by designated member review after the weekly review list reaches a quorum. However, additional requirements must be completed before final approval, as applicable to the specific protocol:

  • Online IACUC Basic Training and Occupational Health and Safety enrollment and training for personnel is completed.
  • The Division of Research Safety (DRS) confirms that requirements for biological, chemical, and radiation safety have been satisfied.

Notification of approval must be received before any animal acquisition or use can proceed.

To amend an approved protocol:
1. Make changes to an approved IACUC protocol, such as:  the addition or removal of personnel; addition of new procedures; changes in numbers of animals; changes in numbers or types of sampling of live animals; etc.
2. The IACUC will follow the same steps as above.  Certain minor changes can be approved administratively by the IACUC staff.
3. The PI receives notification of approval from the IACUC office.


Role of the IACUC:
Federal regulations require each institution using vertebrate animals 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 approvedd.

Role of the Agricultural Animal Care and Use Program (AACUP) and the Division of Animal Resources (DAR):
DAR and AACUP report to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and administer the animal care and use program, provide training in the humane care and use of animals, and administer the program of veterinary care. DAR and AACUP may establish policies, standards, and procedures necessary for implementation of IACUC policies and requirements, for complying with directions from the Attending Veterinarians, and for business management of the program of veterinary care or the program of animal care and use.

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 user.


Approved: 3/4/1999
Updated: 2/5/19


Principal Investigators

I'm looking for...

Limited Submission Information

Human Subject Usage

Sponsored Research