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Animal Subjects Research Requirements

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Animal studies play a vital role in advancing science and finding new and improved ways of fighting serious diseases. Stanford University is committed to the responsible care and use of animals in research. According to U.S. federal law, institutions that use laboratory animals for research must establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee and evaluate all aspects of the institution’s animal care and use program. Stanford's IACUC is the Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (APLAC).* 

If your research involves animal subjects of any kind (vertebrate or invertebrate), you must include the following Animal Subjects Research Appendix in your application for a VPUE Undergraduate Research Student Grant:

Append a one-paragraph discussion to your proposal about your level of preparedness for animal subjects research. The paragraph should answer the following questions:

  1. How are you prepared to ensure the responsible care and use of animals in your research?
  2. What interaction will you, specifically, have with animal subjects or animal derived tissue in your research?
  3. Additionally, if relevant, please include whether (1) you are listed on your PI’s IACUC/APLAC Protocol # and (2) if you have taken “Animal Care and Use Training Program" (VSC-PROG-0001) available through STARS
    • Strong proposals would adequately address all 3 of these questions. If you find out that your specific project does not require APLAC approval or the STARS training, please indicate that in your paragraph.

All researchers dealing with vertebrate animal subjects in particular are required to receive IACUC/APLAC approval before beginning research. It is never granted retroactively. If you are not listed on your PI/faculty mentor's approved protocol, please make sure that you speak to your PI/faculty mentor about being added to the protocol. If you do not, you may confront complications down the road (e.g., barred from publishing a paper on your study, etc.).

If you are unsure about whether your project requires IACUC/APLAC approval, please consult with your PI/faculty mentor. 


I am not working with animals that require IACUC/APLAC approval. Do I still need to answer all 3 questions in an appendix of my proposal? Yes. We believe it is important all students demonstrate ethical consideration of the work they are doing and learn how animal research is institutionally regulated.

How do I answer Question #3 if my research doesn't require IACUC/APLAC review nor the STARS course? Please simply indicate *why* your research does not necessitate these requirements in your response.

Does the Animal Subjects Research Appendix count toward the word limit (1500 words for Small Grants, 2500 words for Major Grants)? No appendices count toward the word limit.


For any further questions regarding IACUC/APLAC review, please visit the APLAC website or email

*Introductory wording from APLAC website