Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Monitoring the Care and Use of Animals

In compliance with Federal laws and regulations, Fitchburg State University has established an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for reviewing research activities involving live vertebrate animals. The primary goal of the IACUC is to assure that live vertebrate animals are cared for and used in ways that are scientifically, technically, and humanely appropriate. Our policy conforms to the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

All activities involving the use of vertebrate animals conducted by Fitchburg State University faculty, staff, or students, or sponsored, in part or in whole, by Fitchburg State must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC before the work begins. Once approved, the activities must be conducted in full compliance with IACUC policies and procedures. In general, approved protocols remain in effect for a maximum of three years.

Prior to Submitting an IACUC Proposal

Prior to completing a proposal, please review and familiarize yourself with the Fitchburg State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Policy document (PDF). All proposals require the following information:

  • The nature and objectives of the investigation to be performed on the animal subjects
  • The scientific rationale for use of the animals
  • Justification for species and number of animals to be used
  • Assurance that unnecessary duplication of previous research will be avoided, and that suitable alternatives to using vertebrate animals have been considered
  • Proposed methods to avoid or minimize pain and discomfort to the animals
  • Location of facilities for care and use of animal subjects
  • Requirements for the care and use of the animals

Beginning in January, 2018, all proposers and investigators submitting new or renewal applications to the IACUC will be required to demonstrate completion of the CITI collaborative training modules. These modules will replace NIH training that was previously accepted and include Responsible Conduct in Research and IACUC specific modules. For more information on the CITI program and applicable training modules that may be required, please see the information below or contact the IACUC chair or the CITI Program campus administrator, Dr. Jennifer Hanselman, Ph.D.

The Application Process

The IACUC reviews proposals as needed and accepts proposals year-round. The number of forms required depends on the nature of the work. Downloadable forms are listed in the table below. All research proposals begin with the Faculty/Student Research Standard form. All proposals for classroom instruction begin with the Classroom Study Standard Form .

Forms for Animal Care and Use Proposals

Form ... Required for ...
Faculty/Student Research Standard Form (MS Word) All research projects proposing to use vertebrate animals
Classroom Study Standard Form (MS Word) All instructional projects proposing to study vertebrate animals, as part of a specific University course
Classroom Study Research Project (MS Word) Any student proposal to study vertebrate animals in pursuit of an independent research project as part of a specific University course based on a previously approved protocol
Schedule A: Husbandry (MS Word) All animal studies in which the animals will be housed for periods longer than 24 hours outside of their natural habitat
Schedule B: Surgical Procedures (MS Word) All animal studies where animals will undergo surgery
Schedule C: Biohazard Materials (MS Word) All animal studies that include the use of biohazards, such as infectious pathogens, carcinogens or other toxic materials, or recombinant DNA, to be administered to live animals
Schedule D: Non-surgical injections, Anesthesia or Analgesia (MS Word) All work that includes the induction of anesthesia or analgesia in non-surgical procedures or delivery of injectable substances for purposes other than perisurgical anesthesia or analgesia
Occupational Health Survey (MS Word) Any person working with animals and when any changes in medical conditions or animal exposure intensity occur

Proposal Submission Procedure

  1. All members of the research team, including faculty advisors, must complete the online CITI training related to their role and the nature of the proposed work. This includes the Responsible Conduct in Research training.

  2. Read the Fitchburg State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Policy document (PDF).  Then, download the proposal forms appropriate to your study from the table above. Follow the instructions to complete each form and obtain approval from your department chair. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

  3. Scan all pages to PDF, including the signature pages signed by both you and your department chair and certificates of completion for the relevant CITI training.  Submit these via email to the IACUC chair at You should retain in your records the hard copy of the signed proposal and CITI certificates for the full duration of any approved protocol.

Standard Operating Procedures

Documents that define the standard operating procedures for animal research and vivarium usage can be found here.

Contacting the IACUC

We're here to help! Please don't hesitate to contact the Animal Care and Use Committee with any questions at

Reporting Animal Welfare Concerns

Members of the campus and broader communities are encouraged to bring to the attention of IACUC, the University and other agencies concerns about the care and use of animals in teaching and research at Fitchburg State University.  For reference, animal care and use at the University is governed by IACUC, our approved SOPs and protocols, and the Guide for the Use and Care of Laboratory Animals (PDF). Persons with concerns that are not addressed by reviewing these documents, or who have other concerns related to animal care and use in teaching and research at the University are welcomed to contact the University as follows:

All faculty or officials of the University can be reached by calling 978.665.3400.

Concerns can be registered anonymously, if desired. Those reporting concerns about the care and use of animals in teaching and research at the University are protected by applicable whistleblower laws, such as that for Commonwealth of Massachusetts employees.

Current IACUC Members