Here is a link for submitting a protocol application in Topaz. Here are instructions on how to submit a protocol in TOPAZ Elements. If you want to view the questions on the Protocol Form and draft your submission in Word, view the Forms page.  The IACUC office no longer accepts Protocols in Word form.  Whether or not you are brand new to research using vertebrate animals, be sure to check out our page on Getting Started, for important information on the responsibilities of being a Principal Investigator.

Protocol Submission Deadlines for 2017 IACUC Meetings

Meeting Month

Deadline to submit protocol for required pre-review**

Deadline for Protocol Submission to the IACUC Office by the Principal Investigator

IACUC Meeting Date

October 2017 September 18 September 25 Oct. 9, 2017 *Updated
November 2017 October 26 November 2 Nov. 16, 2017 *Updated
December 2017 November 28 December 5 Dec. 19, 2017 *Updated

**Researchers are encouraged to submit documents for pre-review as soon as possible (even prior to the required pre-review deadline) to allow ample time for communication with the reviewers. What is meant by “pre-review”? The Principal Investigator should submit their animal use protocol to their department’s IACUC representative by this date, and indicate that you would like to submit your protocol to the IACUC in one week. The IACUC representative may request modifications, and those modifications should be made in the protocol before you submit it to the IACUC office. If you are performing pain category D or E procedures, please simultaneously send a pdf version to the Veterinarian for comments for pre-review.

Information you need to know when filling out the Protocol Form:

  • University policy and federal law require the review of projects for humane treatment of vertebrate animals. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, the review is conducted by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
  • Principle Investigators and course directors must obtain approval from the IACUC before initiating any research, testing or instructional project involving the use of vertebrate animals. The IACUC's principal areas of concern are housing and husbandry, health status, measures to minimize pain or discomfort and the adequacy of training or experience of the personnel when using the animals.
  • Approved applications are valid for the specified project for a period of three years. Interim renewal submissions are required in Topaz 30 to 60 days prior to end of year one and two.
  • Any changes you may wish to make to your protocol after its approval MUST be approved by the IACUC before you actually perform those changes. Only those species listed in the approved application may be obtained. Only those procedures listed in the approved protocol or approved addenda may be done. You receive a “Certificate of Approval” from the IACUC when your changes or application have been approved.
  • Before submitting an animal protocol you must make arrangements for animal housing and care. Contact the facility manager for your department to make these arrangements.
  • Investigators are requested to categorize their use of vertebrate animals based on the discomfort or pain involved. The University uses the USDA pain category designations. Please click here for USDA Pain and Distress Categories. There is no category A.
  • Consideration should be given to methods that result in a lesser degree of unavoidable pain or discomfort. Use of the smallest number of animals consistent with meeting the scientific or educational objectives is mandatory.
  • Minimizing animal pain, wherever possible, is important both ethically and legally.
  • The IACUC views justifying animal use as being very important. Therefore, you must thoroughly justify the number of animals to be used. This justification might include the number of animals used in pilot studies, the number which will not respond to a particular treatment thus inflating the number needed for an experiment, an estimate of the number of animals which might not survive a surgical procedure, etc. It is unacceptable to propose using a large number of animals without a thorough justification of those numbers. As part of that justification, you should provide an itemized list of the animal numbers by experiment (including the number of both experimental and control animals).
  • If you are using methods, chemicals, or drugs which are potentially hazardous to yourself or other personnel working with animals, it is necessary to state in detail what steps you will take to minimize risk. Call Environmental Health and Safety (303-492-6025) for advice on these matters.
  • If the project is not to be reviewed for merit by an external body, then the chair of the department must review the application for scientific/educational merit and sign the protocol.
  • Help is available in filling out the application:
  • For specific questions about completing the protocol which includes anesthesia, justifying the number of animals, euthanasia or other technical questions, email
  • For general questions about submitting a protocol or guidance on regulations, contact the Interim Director of the IACUC Office at 303-492-4787 or email

Step 1:

Fill out your Protocol Application Form. See the helpful hints above for guidance as well as some of our other Resources on anesthesia, analgesia, euthanasia, etc.  Here are instructions on how to submit a protocol in TOPAZ Elements.

Step 2:

Make sure that all the personnel you wish to add to your protocol have taken IACUC Basic Training, have been enrolled in the Occupational Health Program, and have updated training documentation. You will need to send the training documentation to the IACUC Office with you application.

Step 3:

Three weeks prior to the IACUC meeting at which you want your protocol discussed, email your protocol application to the IACUC member representative for your campus department for pre-review. Additionally, submit your protocol to the Institutional Veterinarian for pre-review in Topaz Elements for USDA-covered Pain Category D and E.

Step 4:

After the pre-review, and at least 2 weeks prior to the next IACUC meeting, submit via Topaz Elements to the IACUC Office with your protocol form, updated training documentation for your personnel, the grants that cover the protocol, and any permits that may be necessary for you to conduct your work. This information MUST be received at least two weeks prior to the next IACUC meeting.

During the IACUC meeting, there can be four outcomes for your protocol. First, your protocol could get approved. Second, your protocol could need modifications, and then it will be approved. Thirdly, your protocol could get deferred to a future meeting because the modifications are so extensive. The fourth outcome is that the IACUC can withhold approval of your protocol. If your protocol is approved, you will receive a certificate of approval via email. If modifications are required, you will receive a modification letter via email, make the changes, and email back to the IACUC Office. You cannot begin work on your protocol until your Certificate of Approval is in hand.