Office of Research

Getting Started

Use of Live Vertebrate Animal Guidelines

All research, teaching and testing activities involving live, vertebrate animals must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to initiation of the activities. In order to obtain approval for your teaching, testing, or research protocol, please follow these basic instructions:

  1. Determine when your research will begin. This is very important as it can take as long as three (3) weeks to complete the IACUC approval process.
  2. After you have decided when your work will begin, please consult the Calendar-Deadlines  to see the next most appropriate committee meeting date for submission. We must have 15 days in which to review your protocol prior to a full committee meeting. The calendar will tell you when the next meeting will be held, and it will tell you the deadline for submitting a protocol for review at that meeting.
  3. The Animal Use Protocol (AUP) form should be submitted electronically as a Word File. A hard copy of the signed AUP cover page must be submitted to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to initiation of the protocol review process. Please contact the IACUC Office at 656-4538, or if you have any questions.
  4. All investigators are required to consult with the University/Attending Veterinarian prior to protocol submission.   The pain category assigned to the protocol is determined by the veterinarian.  Pain categories are based upon the potential level of pain, discomfort or distress that may be associated with procedures commonly used in experimental animals. Some category D and all category E protocols require Full Committee review and approval. A scientific justification for Category E studies must be submitted by the Principal Investigator for inclusion with the USDA report (Animal Welfare Act).  Exceptions to the recommendations in the ILAR Guide, the Agricultural Guide, and the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, require written scientific justification.
  5. Current literature searches (within 6 months) are required for all Animal Use Protocols which fall into Pain Categories D and E.  Reduction, Refinement and Replacement (The 3-R's) must be part of the keywords used in the search.  For assistance with literature searches and to obtain information on alternatives to painful procedures, contact a science librarian.  Information and links for animal research literature searching can be found here.
  6. Be sure to include your OSP number, and title of the grant proposal/award in the funding area of the protocol application to ensure our ability to link the protocol to your awarded funds.  This will reduce the time in releasing your funds to you.
  7. Regulations in both the PHS Policy and The Animal Welfare Act require that Clemson University provide training for investigators, undergraduate and graduate students, and technicians. Every investigator must complete on-line animal welfare training prior to conducting animal activities, and enroll in the Medical Surveillance Program, and complete zoonotic training.  The Animal Welfare Act assigns responsibility to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for determining qualifications of individuals involved in animal research, teaching, and testing activities. Qualifications to perform specific procedures will be based upon information provided in Qualifications section of the AUP.  Students participating in a class are NOT required to be listed as personnel in the protocol but ARE required to complete the animal welfare training and enroll in the Medical Surveillance Program. Personnel outside Clemson University, listed in a protocol, must complete a Non-Clemson Personnel form, documenting training and medical coverage. This form is available with the AUP forms.

The Principal Investigator is responsible for ensuring all personnel involved in a proposed animal activity are trained, qualified, and approved by the IACUC to perform the procedures indicated on the qualifications section of the AUP.

For those not qualified to perform protocol specific procedures, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and research technicians skilled in performing anesthesia, euthanasia and other procedures are available to provide training to all members of the research team (contact Melody Willey of Research Services at 864-656-0908).

Protocols are approved for up to a three-year period and are reviewed annually. Approximately four to six weeks prior to the protocol anniversary date, the IACUC will send an e-mail to the Principal investigator to request the annual report. The Principal Investigator must complete an Annual Review Form before the one year anniversary date of the protocol approval. Failure to submit the completed annual review  and obtaining IACUC annual approval within the timeframe required by federal regulations will result in suspension of all animals activities and reporting of the action to the federal oversight and funding agencies.