CU Boulder has adopted KeySolution's eProtocol as the electronic research administration system supporting animal research.   For information on how to submit in eProtocol, please see the following link

**Researchers are encouraged to submit documents for pre-review as soon as possible (even prior to the required pre-review deadline).

What is meant by “pre-review”?  Prior to submitting to the IACUC in eProtocol the Principal Investigator should submit their animal use protocol in pdf format to their department’s IACUC representative indicating 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 (annual) renewal submissions are required in eProtocol 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 amendment may be done. You receive a “Certificate of Approval” from the IACUC via email 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. 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 to be funded through an external grant mechanism (NIH, PHS, DoD, NSF etc), an internal review for scientific merit is not required. Otherwise, the chair of the department or the IACUC department representative must review the application for scientific/educational merit. 
  • 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 Director of the IACUC Office at 303-492-4787 or email

Step 1:

Make sure that all the personnel you wish to add to your protocol have taken IACUC CITI Training, have been enrolled/completed the Occupational Health Program, and have updated training documentation of their lab responsibilities.

Step 2:

Fill out your eProtocol protocol. For information about eProtocol please see

Step 3:

Three weeks prior to the IACUC meeting at which you want your protocol discussed, it is recommended that you email a pdf version of your protocol application to the IACUC member representative for your campus department for pre-review.  Additionally, if your protocol includes USDA Pain category D and E, submit your protocol to the Institutional Veterinarian for pre-review in eProtocol for USDA-covered Pain Category D and E. See current meeting dates and deadlines on our main page.

Step 4:

After the pre-review, and at least 2 weeks prior to the next IACUC meeting, submit via eProtocol to the IACUC Office the following: your protocol form, updated training documentation for your personnel, the grants that fund 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. See current meeting dates and deadlines on our main page


There are four possible outcomes for your protocol:

  • The protocol could get approved. If your protocol is approved, you will receive a Certificate of Approval via email. 
  • The protocol could need modifications. If modifications are required, you will receive a "returned for modification" letter via email from eProtocol.  Please make the changes to your protocol in eProtocol, and submit to the IACUC Office. You cannot begin work on the protocol until your Certificate of Approval is in hand.
  • The protocol could get deferred to a future meeting because the modifications are extensive.
  • The IACUC could withhold approval of the protocol.