Explore the Ins and Outs of Semi-Annual Inspection Findings

September 24, 2021

Magnifying glass looking at graph of data reportHave you ever wondered what happens to the information collected during semi-annual Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) facility inspections? 

  • Do the findings get reported to AAALAC?
  • Who reviews the data gathered by the IACUC?
  • How are we notified of findings for our spaces?

With the latest round of inspections recently concluded on Thursday, September 23, now is the perfect time to learn about how different findings are categorized, how to respond to action items in eRAM, and how the Animal Care & Use Office (ACUO) compiles and shares inspection results.

If IACUC inspectors discover issues that are inconsistent with the rules and regulations that govern animal care and use, they are noted in the inspection findings. All findings are then logged in the eResearch Animal Management (eRAM) system and/or documentation maintained by the ACUO.

There are two categories of inspection findings:

  Deficiency (DEF)   Suggestion for Improvement (SFI)
  • Requires consideration as an opportunity to enhance the quality of your program/lab; and
  • Does NOT require a response in eRAM

Action items are assigned to the Principal Investigator (PI) in eRAM based on the following:

  Individual spaces   Shared spaces
  If a finding is noted in a space for which a single PI is responsible, that PI will receive a request in eRAM to resolve the action item(s)   If a finding is noted in a shared space where a specific lab/PI cannot be identified, it is expected that all parties will collaborate to resolve the concern and respond accordingly to the action item(s)


A PI can choose to delegate the responsibility for responding to another lab member by logging in to eRAM, navigating to the specific action item, and selecting “Manage Secondary Assignee” activity.*

Responses to action items in eRAM can include, but are not limited to:

  • The issue has been resolved by _______ (explain corrective action)
  • A request for resolution has been submitted to ULAM/U-M Facilities/EHS, etc.
    (depending on the nature of the issue)

*Step-by-step instructions for completing specific tasks in eRAM are available on the eRAM Reference Materials website.

Blue information iconFederal regulations require the IACUC to report on the status of the Animal Care & Use Program twice a year. This report includes all findings compiled from facility inspections, as well as an assessment of overall programmatic trends, to determine whether additional training or attention should be given to specific areas or if broader changes to the program should be considered.

The U-M’s Institutional Official and Vice President for Research is the recipient of this report and provides feedback and recommendations for programmatic adjustments or improvements, where necessary.

Regulatory bodies may also request and review inspection findings when conducting a site visit. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts inspections of U-M facilities once per USDA fiscal year (October 1 – September 30). AAALAC International conducts a full re-accreditation site visit once every three years, with the next visit scheduled to occur in Spring/Summer 2023.


The semi-annual inspection process offers a unique opportunity to evaluate and assess our individual and collective work on a regular basis and is a vital tool for ensuring that we, as an institution, continue to refine our approaches to the humane treatment and judicious use of animals in research.


Should you have any questions or concerns about these processes, please contact the ACUO at acuoffice@umich.edu.