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1. What type of animal activities require an IACUC review and approval?

Any use of live, vertebrate animals requires IACUC approval prior to the start of the project. Use of invertebrates for scientific purposes do not need USM IACUC assessment.


2. Who can be a Principal Investigator on an IACUC Application?

The principal investigator (PI) must be a Universiti Sains Malaysia employee.


3. When do I need to apply for USM IACUC Animal Ethics Approval? What if I already obtained animal ethics approval from another IACUC?

USM IACUC requires the researchers to apply for USM IACUC Animal Ethics Approval when they meet any one of these conditions:

  • Principal investigator (PI) from USM
  • Animal for Research / teaching conducted within USM (non USM postgraduate students need to obtain ethical approval from institution/university they registered first before applying for USM IACUC approval)
  • The funding is from USM
  • Registered student of USM (under- and postgraduate) - This applies even when the study is not conducted in USM

If the researchers already obtained animal ethics approval from another IACUC, application to the USM IACUC is still necessary. They are required to attach the animal ethics approval from the other IACUC with the application form.


4. If the project will be performed outside of Malaysia, do I need to apply for animal ethics approval from USM IACUC?

Yes. Please refer to the Guideline for Projects Conducted Outside of Malaysia under the Policy and Guidelines tab.


5. Who needs to be listed on the USM IACUC application form?

Anyone that comes into contact with live animals in the project including the PI, co-investigators, students (under- and postgraduate), employed personnel (eg Research Officer, Research Assistant)


6. Can I house animals in the laboratory?

Animal can only be placed at the Animal Research and Service Centre (ARASC) or Seksyen Penyelidikan Haiwan (SPH), IPPT.


7. Can I get animals from outside USM?

Researchers should obtain their animals from ARASC. However, if ARASC & SPH cannot provide these animals, researchers are allowed to obtain from outside sources. However, the researchers are required to discuss with ARASC to check suitability of the supplier first, before any orders are made.


8. What are the suitable drop-out rate for animal studies?



9. Do the animal need environmental enrichment?

Environmental enrichment is a must for animals placed singly in a cage. Example of environmental enrichment include tunnel for hiding or ball for rolling. Other forms of enrichment can be asked from staff at ARASC.


10. How often does the IACUC meet?

USM IACUC meetings are held between 5 - 6 times per year.  Upcoming meeting dates will be announced in the USM IACUC official website and through USM email.


11. What is the deadline for submitting an IACUC protocol for review by the committee?

A protocol application can be submitted anytime during the year. However only the complete hardcopy of application form that is received before the deadline stated in USM IACUC website will be reviewed in the upcoming IACUC meeting.  Protocols received after this deadline will be reviewed at the following meeting. Researchers can submit (if they wish) a soft copy to the secretariat to ensure the form is adequately filled prior to sending the hard copy.


12. How soon after the meeting can I expect to hear back from the IACUC?

The IACUC Secretariat will send a reply letter (correction /clarification / approval) letter within 2 weeks following the meeting. 


13. Do I need to apply for USM IACUC approval if I want to conduct a pilot study? 

Yes you do. Pilot studies should be regarded as integral to the overall project, especially to enable assessment of the feasibility of the project and the potential for Refinement and Reduction. They should be assessed by the IACUC according to the usual criteria applied to project approval.


14. What are the responsibilities of a Principal Investigator? 

Please refer to MYCODE (7.0 Responsibilities of Investigators, page 22) for a comprehensive list of Principal Investigator’s responsibilities.

Principal Investigators should consult other experienced scientists, veterinarians or laboratory animal and livestock specialist while preparing proposals and before starting their project, if they are inexperienced in the related procedures or studies. IACUC may query on this when assessing proposals.

Principal investigators need to be aware that they are responsible to obtain all permit necessary in their studies and those permits need to be given to USM IACUC.


15. Can the animal be used repeatedly? 

Individual animal must not be used in more than one scientific experiment, without IACUC approval.


16. Does teaching activities involving animals need the IACUC approval? 

Proposals for the use of animals in teaching must be approved by the IACUC and comply with all relevant legislation and institutional requirements. Animals should not be used when other techniques such as audio-visual aids will achieve the teaching objectives satisfactorily. For example: calculation of LD50 values.


17. Can I use animals for toxicology studies? 

Non-animal alternatives test, if available and suitable, should be used where possible. Please refer to Non-Animal Alternatives for Safety (Toxicity) Assessment located in the Policy And Guidelines tab. 


Contact Us

USM Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (USM IACUC)
Health Campus
Universiti Sains Malaysia
16150 Kubang Kerian
Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Tel : +609-7672366

Email: jkpph@usm.my

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  • Last Update: 18 May 2023.