IACUC Discontinues Department Merit Review Process

October 5, 2020

Workflow process icon showing elimination of administrative stepContinuing to refine practices that reduce administrative burden while still achieving the highest animal welfare standards is critical to the long-term success of our researchers and our Animal Care & Use Program.

After a careful review of current processes, U-M internal policies and their relevance to federal rules and regulations, and benchmarking with other similarly-sized peer institutions, the U-M Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) has recently identified one such administrative process that could be eliminated without impacting the care that animals receive.

This process, termed a “Department Merit Review,” previously required all projects not subject to external peer review (including internally-funded projects, industry contracts and gifts, and instructional use of animals) to undergo additional review and approval by the Chair/Director of the PI’s home department/unit to assure the scientific or instructional merit of the proposed research.

However, this process has been determined to be redundant to the IACUC’s existing protocol review and approval processes and, as such, has been discontinued.

Impact & Next Steps

This change is effective immediately and does NOT require any additional actions from the U-M research community. You may notice minor updates to existing language in the eRAM system, including auto-generated emails and the protocol form, as this change is implemented across the platform.

Moving forward, Research Compliance Associates (RCAs) in the Animal Care & Use Office will NOT trigger additional department/unit merit review(s) in eRAM for projects meeting this criterion, which will subsequently eliminate the need for Chairs/Directors to review, and submit assurance of scientific merit for, these projects in eRAM.

IACUC protocol review processes will remain unchanged, and the Committee will continue its customary review of all proposed projects, regardless of funding source, in accordance with federal rules and regulations that govern the use of animals in research.


Please contact your RCA in the Animal Care & Use Office with any questions or concerns. Eliminating this added step will help simplify the protocol review and approval process for both PIs and their Department/Unit Chairs.