Safety/Animal Use Check In


Animal Use Form

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.

One easy way to make your case is to use 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 can then 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 want to use animals in your project?

Please justify why it is scientifically necessary and what you hope to demonstrate. Provide as much detail as possible (see the “three R's” for more information).

2. How has animal welfare been taken into account in your plans?

How are you reducing animal suffering? How are you enriching the animal environment? Please provide as much detail as possible, including any relevant protocols to be used. Please also include how you are meeting the housing needs of your animals.

3. How will your results benefit society? (For example, are there plans to continue to develop your project after the competition? Or will it contribute to ongoing research in your lab?)

Please provide as much detail as possible.

4. What alternatives to using animals have you considered? Why can’t you accomplish what you are trying to do without using animals? Please provide as much detail as possible.

5. How do you know you are using the fewest possible number of animals needed to accomplish the scientific goal of you project?

Please provide as much detail as possible, including your power calculations.
(Note: the fewest animals needed to accomplish the aim of your project, is not the same as the fewest possible number of animals. You will need to think about how much evidence you are generating.)

6. What else do you want to tell us to support your request to use animals in your project?

7. Please upload your Experimental Design Assistant design report here:

8. Please upload your institutional animal use committee documentation here:

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