Researchers may not be aware that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has a unique regulatory oversight system for funded research projects involving animals. While most other funding agencies rely on the institution to provide sole oversight and review of animal use, DOD-funded projects also require investigators to work directly with the DOD’s own oversight committees for approval and reporting. For example, if a project is funded by The Navy, proposed animal research must first be approved by the University’s IACUC and then be submitted to the Department of The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) for review and approval before work can begin. This is also true for any modifications to the protocol.
In addition, the investigator must report a number of actions to respective departments (BUMED for The Navy, ACURO for DARPA and The Army) as outlined in their approval letter. These often include:
- Any noncompliance involving the protocol
- Any deviations from the provisions of The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
- Any suspension of activity on the protocol by the IACUC
- Any adverse events
While it is the investigator’s responsibility to comply with the terms of the funding and animal use approval, the Office for Research Protections (ORP) must be kept informed of all actions and communications with DOD agencies regarding animal work. To facilitate this, ORP requires the following:
- For new DOD-funded projects (The Navy, The Army, DARPA) investigators must have a dedicated IACUC protocol. This means that for each funded project, an IACUC-approved protocol is required and no other funding can be listed on that protocol. It must be one-to-one. Existing projects that are not one-to-one are grandfathered and can remain as they are.
- All communications sent to or received by DOD that are related to animal approval and reporting must be forwarded to the IACUC office at ORP-IACUC@psu.edu.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the IACUC Director, Jeremy DeRicco (firstname.lastname@example.org, 814-865-8897).