IACUC New Submission Overview

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Use this guide to prepare the documents and information needed to Create a Protocol in CATS IACUC. Before beginning an IACUC submission, review the IACUC basic steps gain a general understanding of how to navigate the CATS IACUC system and how to build different components of a protocol in the system. 

TIP: Study staff can “Create a New Study” on behalf of a principal investigator, but only the principal investigator (PI) or PI Proxy can submit the study.

The following sections outline the different information needed to complete a CATS IACUC submission. 

Research Team Name

Before beginning any submission, you must create or belong a research team. When creating a new team, make sure that the name differentiates the team from others that you may be on.

Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator (PI) will default to the individual creating the study team. Select a different PI if needed. Remember that only PI’s and PI proxies are able to submit.

Team Members

Add all members of the study team here. It may be best to add the temporary members (one or two semesters) at the protocol level, but not the research team level. Individuals who are not on the study team, but who will be conducting a specific procedure, can be added to the Procedure Personnel page.

Tip: If the individual creating the research team is not the PI, they must add themself to the research team. Otherwise, they will not be able to see the submission after exiting the system.

Tip: All team members must update their own profile by listing relevant experience, education, and specific procedure training. PIs are not able to update on behalf of the research team.

Team Default Species

Select the species to be used for the research activity. This will allow the system to auto populate standard procedures related to that species.

There are two types of substances: standard and team-based.

Standard substances are IACUC approved substances are are pre-built in the system. New, standard substances are regularly being added to the system. Team-based substances are substances that you create for your research team.

Substances can be used on one or more protocols without the need to re-create every time.

Tip: Create substances prior to creating procedures so that you can link the substance to a procedure if needed.

There are three procedure types: standard, standard template, and team-based.

Standard procedures are approved by the IACU and ready for use. Standard template procedures have some information already entered, but the remaining questions need to be completed by the research team. If the standard or standard template procedures do not suit the research activity, the research team can build team-based procedures.

Like substances, the same procedure can be used on one or more protocols. Procedures are subsets of experiments within the protocol. Unless absolutely necessary, timing and duration of procedures should be in the experimental detail and not within the procedure.

The protocol is where all the details about the research activity are explained. The following is a list of all the information that needs to be provided in a protocol:

  • Basic Information: Short Title- Give a name that is easy to identify. Brief Lay Summary-Provide a clear and concise summary that includes the central question asked, the primary objectives, and the methods or approach used.
  • Team Members: PI’s do not need to add themselves. Only include study team members who will be working on that specific protocol.  
  • Funding Sources: List internal and external funding sources.  
  • Scientific aims: The goals or objectives of the research. Significance and benefits- Explain why the research is important and how society will benefit from the research. 
  • Experiments: Sequential description of experiments. Add appropriate procedures.  The most time consuming part of the protocol.
  • Procedure Personnel Assignment: Individuals are assigned to specific procedures. 
  • Team Member training: All training and experience is displayed for personnel. Training specifically required for the protocol will be entered elsewhere by the IACUC staff.  
  • StrainsAdd all strains on each protocol. Typically only necessary for transgenic lab animal species.
  • Animal Justification: Explain how many animals are needed and why, as well as the source of the animals. 
  • Alternatives: Summarize potential alternatives and justify why less painful and/or distressful alternatives cannot be used or are not appropriate for this research. 
  • Breeding (only for Breeding protocols): Provide information about the breeding activity and/or scheme and methods of identification.
  • Housing and Use: Provide information about housing and use locations outside of areas under the direct supervision of the Animal Resource Program.
  • Field Research Details (only for Field Research protocols): Provide information about location of research, contingencies, permits, and impact to environment.
  • Disposition: Explain what will happen to the animals once the research is complete.


Supporting documents may also be uploaded to the protocol. Examples of supporting documents include:

  • IACUC approved Standard Operating Procedures- e.g. Beak Trimming (UP only)​
  • IACUC Protocol Snapshot (Hershey)​
  • IACUC approval correspondence from collaborating institutions ​
  • Permits​

    • PA Game Commission collection and special use​
    • PA Fish and Boat collection ​
    • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service permits for import/export, collection, possession, transport, etc.​