Federal (e.g., the National Institutes of Health [NIH], the National Science Foundation [NSF]) and many private extramural funding agencies may require verification of Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) approval prior to funding a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement. The generic term, “proposal,” will be used throughout this section to account for each type of transaction.

Please ensure that a copy of any email received from the funding agency is forwarded to your Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) Contract and Grant Officer (CGO) as soon as possible.

To obtain ACUC verification:

  1. At the award stage, the Office for Animal Care and Use (OACU) screens the proposal to determine if all proposed animal care and use are described in the current Animal Use Protocol (AUP) of the lead Principal Investigator (PI), co-PIs, and collaborators (if they are doing animal work).
    1. If a subaward is involved in the proposal (i.e., another institution is doing some or all of the animal work), the OACU staff requests the most recent IACUC approval letter and AUP for the collaborating institution from the lead UC Berkeley PI.
    2. These documents must be sent to the OACU for comparison to the proposal.
    3. IMPORTANT! If you are using funds from a Public Health Service (PHS) agency, all performance sites doing vertebrate animal work must have an approved Animal Welfare Assurance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW; Frequently Asked Question, Protocol Review, Question #8). Lists of domestic and foreign Assured institutions/companies can be found on the OLAW website. Companies or institutions generating custom antibodies for the grant proposal also fall under this requirement (Frequently Asked Question, Applicability of the PHS Policy, Question #2). The ACUC will not confirm compliance of your grant proposal with your protocol if an Assurance is not on file for the performance sites. An alternative company/institution with an Assurance will have to be chosen.
  2. If all procedures involving animals in the proposal are included in the AUP, the OACU will send a PDF of a formal, proposal-specific certification letter (also known as the IACUC certification letter) to the lead or mentor UC Berkeley PI and forward a copy of the letter to SPO.
  3. If the proposal is inconsistent with the AUP (i.e., the proposal contains procedures that are not included on the AUP), revisions to the AUP must be made to incorporate the procedures, personnel, etc. (see Protocol Submission and Review and ACUC Meetings and Deadline Calendar for the forms and deadlines).
    1. If the addition of procedures to the AUP extends past the requested deadline from the funding agency, the OACU will inform SPO of the delay so they can notify the agency.
    2. As soon as the revisions are approved by the ACUC, the OACU will send the IACUC certification letter to the PI and forward it to SPO.

IACUC Certification versus AUP Approval Letters: There is a significant difference between an IACUC certification letter and the AUP approval letter. IACUC certification letters are specific for the proposal and include the date that the procedures were included in the AUP. The AUP approval letter, on the other hand, may include information that is not relevant to the proposal (e.g., requirements), and, unless it is a revision approval letter, may only give the expiration date of the de novo review. Therefore, the AUP approval letter must not be sent to the funding agency as proof of ACUC verification.

Exemptions: Occasionally, the funding agency will ask for verification of ACUC approval, even though the procedures described (mainly in field studies) are exempt from federal regulations. If the OACU reviews the proposal and concludes that the procedures are exempt, an IACUC certification letter will be sent to the PI (with a copy to SPO) upon request indicating that the procedures do not fall under the purview of the ACUC. If you want to know whether your field procedures are exempt from federal regulations, please contact the OACU at (510) 642-8855 or acuc@berkeley.edu.

Annual ACUC Verification: A small subset of funding agencies (e.g., March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) requires verification of ACUC approval each year. Once you receive this request, please forward it to the SPO and the OACU. The IACUC certification letter will be written by the OACU, and then sent to the PI with a copy to SPO. Please do not forward the AUP approval letter as verification.


Helpful Tips and Links for Writing a Grant Proposal Using Vertebrate Animals

  • Read and use the lead or mentor PI’s AUP as a guide. It is helpful to know what the investigator is capable of doing and already approved to do prior to writing a proposal
  • Fill out the information in the appropriate vertebrate animal section (e.g., cover page, Research & Related Other Project Information page)
    • Check the box for Vertebrate Animal Use
    • Check the box for IACUC review Pending (if present)
    • For the IACUC approval date, enter “Pending” or “Planned”
    • For the PHS Approved Animal Welfare Assurance number, use the assurance number for the institution that is submitting the proposal (found under OLAW Fast Facts, Assured Institutions)
      • Berkeley’s PHS Assurance number is A3084-01
  • If you have questions regarding custom antibodies, please refer to the Custom Antibodies page

Helpful Tips When Submitting a Grant Proposal Using Vertebrate Animals to SPO

  • On the Special Review tab in Phoebe:
    • Select “Animal Care and Use” and for Approval Status select “Pending,” but the other fields (i.e., Protocol Number, Application Date, Approval Date, Expiration Date, and Comments) should not be completed.
  • If the project will use or generate custom antibodies, on the Questions tab in Phoebe:
    • Will this project involve any of the following potential compliance issues? Custom antibodies
      • Select “Yes”
    • Will custom antibodies be generated in the course of performing this project?
      • Select “Yes”
      • If known, please provide the name and Public Health Service (PHS) approved Animal Welfare Assurance number of the company or institution that will provide the custom antibodies.

Additional resources on writing a proposal using vertebrate animals can be found on the Useful Links page.