Animal Care and Use

Principal Investigator Eligibility Policy

Approved and adopted: January 2024

IACUC Policy

Principal Investigators (PIs) of protocols approved by the WashU IACUC must meet certain eligibility requirements to serve as the PI of record. The individual must have sufficient experience and training to conduct the proposed research. The PI must be familiar with the experiments described and must have sufficient oversight authority over the study team to ensure activities are conducted in accordance with the protocol, WashU IACUC policies, and applicable federal regulations. The PI must have adequate resources including funding, facilities and equipment, staff, and the time to conduct and complete the research.

Requirements for IACUC PIs

1. Full-Time Faculty Status

The PI must be a full time WashU faculty member in good standing. For the purposed of this policy, faculty appointments include Professor (Assistant, Associate, and Full), Instructor, and Clinician subtypes within Academic Appointments. Courtesy appointments, students, technicians, and post-doctoral fellows are not eligible to serve as the PI.

WashU students and postdoctoral or clinical fellows with grant awards may be listed as protocol Co-PIs but must have a faculty member sponsor serve as the IACUC protocol PI. The faculty sponsor must meet the same requirements as an independent PI as outlined above. The Co-PI role will allow the grantee to appear on the protocol approval letter to satisfy funding agency requirements.

Exceptions to this requirement are rare, evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and may be granted due to unique research circumstances (e.g., for a Director of a Core Facility or under an institutional contract for WashU’s IACUC to support third-party research). Exceptions should be requested in LAMPS, including a justification in the “PI experience” narrative section.

2. Regular On-Campus Presence

The Principal Investigator must be physically on campus at a reasonable frequency sufficient to provide direct supervision and oversight of animal research activities, including overall colony health. If a PI will not physically be on campus for more than 30 contiguous days (e.g. extended leave, remote work agreement, sabbatical, etc.), the PI must notify the IACUC office and propose a temporary alternate supervision plan for active or ongoing animal studies. Alternatives may include naming an interim PI, a pause on animal research, supervision by the Co-PI, or other proposal. Alternative supervision plans may be approved by the IACUC Chair, Director, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Integrity and Ethics or referred to the full IACUC committee for approval.

3. Ongoing Training and Compliance

After a protocol has been approved, the PI must remain up to date on all required training detailed in the IACUC Training and Training Documentation policy. If a PI fails to complete the required training, the protocol will be referred to the full committee for discussion and possible suspension.

Download the IACUC Principal Investigator Eligibility Policy (Box Login)