If your project involves live vertebrate animals, the U.S. National Science Foundation requires that one of the following must be in place before it issues an award:
- Approval from an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and Public Health Service (PHS)-approved Animal Welfare Assurance. Or:
- A determination by an organization's IACUC that the project is exempt from IACUC oversight.
NSF's policies on proposals involving live vertebrate animals are detailed in NSF's Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) II.E.4. NSF's award requirements for projects involving live vertebrate animals are detailed in PAPPG XI.B.3.
Some key information from the PAPPG is highlighted on this page for your convenience.
On this page
Justifying the involvement of vertebrate animals
If your proposed project will involve live vertebrate animals, you must provide sufficient information in your project description so reviewers can evaluate:
- The rationale for involving animals.
- The choice of species and number of animals to be used.
- The proposed use of the animals.
- Exposure of animals to discomfort, pain or injury.
- Any euthanasia methods to be used.
Timing of IACUC approval
Although a proposal can be reviewed without IACUC approval, NSF will not recommend projects involving live vertebrate animals for funding until the cognizant NSF program director has received a copy of the IACUC approval letter or an exempt certification.
If your proposal cover page included a valid IACUC approval date, no additional documentation is needed to meet NSF's IACUC approval requirement.
If your proposal cover page listed your IACUC approval as pending, you should submit your IACUC approval application to the organization that will provide IACUC oversight as soon as you learn from the cognizant NSF program director that your proposal is likely to be selected for an award.
Timing of PHS-approved assurance
Although a proposal can be reviewed without PHS-approved Animal Welfare Assurance, projects involving live vertebrate animals cannot be recommended for funding until your organization has PHS-approved assurance.
If your proposal cover page included a valid Animal Welfare Assurance number, no additional documentation is needed to meet NSF's PHS-approved Assurance requirement.
If your proposal cover page listed the PHS-approved Animal Welfare Assurance as pending, the NSF program director will contact the NSF animal welfare officer, who will initiate steps to negotiate this assurance with NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.