Safety/Animal Use Check In

Animal Use Form

There are no deadlines for this form. It can be submitted at any time.

If you are using any multicellular organisms (animals, plants, insects, etc.) you will need to complete a Check-In form to tell us about any risks associated with your work and how you will be managing them. All animal research must also comply with your country’s national guidelines. Have a careful look at iGEM’s Safety and Security Policies for more information.

If you are planning on using vertebrates (e.g. rats, mice, guinea pigs, hamsters), or higher order invertebrates (e.g. cuttlefish, octopus, squid, lobster) you must also fill out this Animal Use Form before using them.


For the purposes of iGEM, use of animals includes using noninvasive and invasive experimentation with live animals, animal food studies, and any procedure resulting in the death of an animal, or harvesting any part of animal for study. Any part of an animal acquired through a third party must also be approved by the reviewing committee.

In addition to any institutional or national approvals required for the use of animals, teams will need to persuade the Safety and Security Committee of their need to use animals by using the Animal Use form.

Teams will need to make a case based on the three R's:

1. Replace

whenever possible alternatives to animal models should be used. Teams must be ready to explain why no alternative approaches were possible.

2. Reduce

if animals are to be used, the fewest possible needed to accomplish the goal of the research should be used. Teams must show they are using the appropriate number of animals to power their study.

3. Refine

animal research must use methods that minimize or alleviate pain, suffering or distress and enhance animal welfare. This includes appropriate housing, environment, stimulation, and feeding of animals.

All teams wanting to use vertebrates or higher order invertebrates in their project must make use of the Experimental Design Assistant ⇗ made available by the UK National Centre for the 3Rs. This is a free online tool designed "to guide researchers through the design of their experiments, helping to ensure that they use the minimum number of animals consistent with their scientific objectives, methods to reduce subjective bias, and appropriate statistical analysis". Teams will need to upload the diagram report made by the tool in the Animal Use form. Teams will also be asked to upload any approval paperwork and evidence of institutional review by an animal use committee (e.g. Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee in the US or China, or Ethics Advisory Board in the European Union).

To help make the case for using animals, teams should look carefully at the Key Concepts ⇗ in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals produced by the US National Academies of Science (also available in Chinese ⇗). There are also lots of different online resources ⇗ made available by the UK National Centre for the 3Rs. There are also new guidelines ⇗ for ethical review of animal welfare in China. We have also provided an example of a complete and compelling animal use form.

Animal Use Form

Team Selection

Please choose a team

Contact Information

PI Name

PI Email

Name of Lab Manager/Person Responsible for Animal Care

Email of Lab Manager/Person Responsible for Animal Care

URL to your institution’s animal use committee

URL to your national animal use guidelines


1. Why do you need to use animals in your project?
Please tell us why you need to use animals to answer your scientific question or test your hypothesis. Include the reasons for your choice of species and strain, plus why the animal model and methodology is the most refined/humane.

2. How will you protect the care and welfare of the animals you use?
Please tell us: where the animal work will take place (if this is an AAALAC accredited and/or licensed facility give details); the standards that animal work will be conducted in accordance with; who will care for the animals (project team members, or specialist staff); what will happen to the animals at the end of the project.

3. How will the animal use benefit society?
Please tell us: what results and other outputs the animal work will generate; who these outputs will be shared with and what the potential benefits to the scientific community and/or sectors of society are.

4. What non-animal methods have you considered?
Please tell us about the non-animal methods that you have considered or will use and why it is not possible to replace all animal use within your project.

5. Describe your experimental design and how you have calculated the number of animals needed.
Provide an explanation of your experimental design referring to your Experimental Design Assistant (EDA) flow diagram and describing your use of randomization and blinding. Include your power calculations and details of any statistical support.

6. Please upload your Experimental Design Assistant report here.

7. Please upload your institutional animal use committee or ethical review documentation here.

8. What else do you want to tell us to support your request to use animals in your project?
You could tell us about: the source of your animals, whether the team has access to support from specialist veterinary and/or animal care staff.

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