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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know if my research project requires institutional (i.e., IACUC) review?

Any use of live, vertebrate animals requires IACUC approval prior to the start of the project. If, however, your research will be conducted at another facility (i.e., one not affiliated with CWU), AND that facility has its own IACUC, you may not need additional approval from CWU's IACUC. Please contact the IACUC if this situation applies to you.

2. Do student research projects require institutional review and approval?

Yes. We encourage you to submit your protocol as early as possible in the quarter to ensure a timely approval, as the committee may have questions or clarifications that need to be addressed before approval can be given.

3. Do I need IACUC approval if I will be using archival data in my research?

Archival data constitutes any records (e.g. videos, samples, logs, etc.) that were previously gathered on animals. The researcher(s) do not conduct any activities with "live" animals, but rather use existing data to complete their investigation. 

IACUC review is not required for using archival data, when:

  • The original data was collected under an approved IACUC protocol. In this case, cite the protocol approval number in any presentations or publications AND/OR
  • The original data was collected by another institution (e.g. sanctuary, zoo, etc.) for their own purposes and under their own regulations/policies.

Neither the Primary Investigator nor any other personnel associated with the proposed research can play a role in producing the original data without IACUC approval and later claim it as "archival research."


If you are planning to use archival data, please contact the IACUC to describe your potential plan and get verification that IACUC approval is not needed. 


4. How do I begin the IACUC review process?

Applications for animal use and research activities are submitted via an online database system. Please see the Forms page to begin the submission process. Submissions by student researchers will be sent to their faculty supervisor for approval prior to being reviewed by the IACUC.

5. I am on a tight timeline to get my research done. How long does the IACUC review process take?

During a normal quarter, you should hear back from the committee in approximately two weeks from the time your protocol is received by IACUC staff. Between quarters or during holiday periods, this may be longer, depending on IACUC member availability.

Please note that when you hear from us, it may be with requests for clarification or modification rather than an immediate approval. You can facilitate prompt approval by ensuring that your protocol application is filled out completely and accurately, that the information provided is understandable by individuals outside of your field, and that your project is consistent with federal guidelines for animal care and use. If you have questions about federal guidelines, you can contact the IACUC for information on materials relevant to your project.

6. What factors do IACUC members consider when reviewing my research proposal?

Of foremost concern is whether any animals will be harmed, or whether the potential for harm exists, as a part of your protocol. "Harm" includes, but is not limited to, physical pain and/or injury, death, and psychological distress. If animals may be harmed, you will need to document that alternative methods have been considered but are not appropriate, and why; that steps have been taken to minimize the harm; that the scientific merit of the project outweighs the harm to the animals; that any methods of euthanasia (if relevant) meet with federal guidelines; and that the minimum number of animals are used that will allow you to conduct your research with reasonable statistical power.

7. Is it possible that the IACUC will deny approval of my research proposal?

Yes. However, in the past we have worked with Principal Investigators when concerns have been noted, and typically been able to resolve the issues and eventually issue an approval. Your cooperation as part of this process is, of course, vital.

8. What if I want to change some of my study procedures after the IACUC has already approved my research?

You must notify the IACUC if you intend to make changes in your research protocol. You can access amendment/modification forms on the Forms page and descriptions of significant and minor changes in the Policies and Procedures Manual.

9. What if I need to add other investigators or research assistants to my protocol after the IACUC has already approved?

The change or addition of personnel who will be responsible for working directly with animals may constitute a significant change. If you have questions about whether your personnel additions fall into this category please contact the IACUC.

10. Once I have received IACUC approval, how long is it valid?

The IACUC will generally approve protocols for one year but can grant continued approval at the time of annual review. Principal Investigators must submit annual reports to the IACUC for review to maintain ongoing approval of protocols lasting more than one year. A protocol may last for up to three years total if the PI submits reports and the committee grants approval for both the first and second annual review dates. A new protocol application must be submitted for research or teaching activities lasting longer than three years.

11. I'm an instructor submitting a protocol application to handle or observe animals for coursework with students. Do all of my students have to complete CITI trainings and receive medical clearance in order to participate in animal activities?

All Principal Investigators (PIs), Teaching Assistants, and others in instruction or technician roles must be listed as personnel on educational protocols, have up-to-date medical clearance through the Occupational Health and Safety Program, and complete all CITI trainings relevant to the proposed activities.

PIs must provide participating students with appropriate training and orientation and assume responsibility for ensuring students follow proper procedures. Student training should include information on the species to be used, safety and health risks and how to minimize risks, proper methodologies to minimize animal pain and distress (techniques in animal handling, capture, observation, etc.), and how to report any animal care or use concerns. PIs must document that all participating students received and signed off on their orientation/training (see template below). Provided that PIs fulfill these requirements, students participating in educational protocols do not need to be listed as personnel on those protocols, receive medical clearance, or complete CITI trainings.

Student Training Signature Form


12. Whom should I contact for more information about the IACUC review and approval process?

Dr. April Binder, IACUC Chair





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