In this new series of Ampersand posts, PRIM&R touches base with those who presented programmatic and research-based findings at past PRIM&R conferences.
Spotlight on an abstract from the 2009 IACUC Conference
Title: IACUC Oversight of Collaborative Work with the Private Sector and Federal Agencies
Authors: Kathy Partin, Ph.D.; Laura Martin, B.S.; William Moseley, M.A.
Affiliation: Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Abstract summary: Academic research institutions are actively seeking research collaborations with the private sector and federal agencies. Institutions may need to prepare for such endeavors with a concerted recalibration of several offices...
Colorado State University has explored implementing new training in different areas of research, developing new ways to write and submit animal protocols, and defining new ways to think about who can serve as an investigator. This poster addressed how the IACUC, institutional official, administrative staff, and principal investigators worked with the current system; the policies governing this system; future considerations; and actions needed for successful collaborations.
PRIM&R Staff (PS): It’s been a year since you presented this abstract at PRIM&R’s 2009 IACUC Conference. How has your program changed or evolved in the past 12 months?
Kathy Partin, Ph.D. (KP): Since the conference, the planned “Research Innovation Center” facility designed to house collaborative and private sector infectious agent research projects has gone from an architectural draft to a real building, and it’s scheduled to open this summer.
We held discussion with critical stakeholders, including the IACUC, sponsored programs, researchers, IT professionals and compliance officers to find a consensus path forward. A necessary element of expanded IACUC purview has been to find an IT solution that allows non-credentialed users (private sector employees) secure access to IACUC protocol software that typically can only be accessed by credentialed users (CSU employees).
Another necessary element has been to establish expectations for non-CSU employees regarding ethical standards for the use of animal subjects, and to develop sufficient tools to allow the IACUC to oversee such projects. These goals have been accomplished on paper, and starting this summer, will be put into practice.
PS: What challenges have you faced in implementing this program?
KP: The greatest challenge has been the number of administrative policies/procedures involved.
There was good consensus among staff within the various units of the office of the vice president for research that we could and should make the changes, which was very helpful. It took many meetings with staff in different units to identify specific language in policies and guidelines that would have to be changed, and then additional meetings to “vet” the changes and be sure we did not introduce unanticipated negative consequences.
Although we have made great strides in getting buy-in from all stakeholders, there are still individuals and groups who do not necessarily agree that the traditional mission of this land-grant university is compatible with an expanded mission of the university that includes private sector partners and the consequent entrepreneurial development that such collaborations permit.
Interested in submitting an abstract to present at PRIM&R’s next animal or human research ethics conference? Please e-mail us for more information.