With the 2015 Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Conference rapidly approaching, our staff is busy getting ready to welcome more than 600 professionals from across the fields of animal care and use and research ethics to our hometown, Boston, MA. Amid all our planning, we found ourselves wondering: How has the IACUC Conference changed over the years? The conference is always a great opportunity to learn about the latest insights, best practices, and challenges in the field, but how have those transformed in recent years?
We dug into our archives to look at the 2005 IACUC Conference and found some interesting comparisons:
- The 2005 conference explored the cornerstones of an effective animal care and use program: communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Those themes continue to echo this year, especially throughout the breakout sessions, where we’ll learn more about communicating with the public about animal research, inter-institutional collaborations, and how to manage or avoid conflicts within your animal care and use program.
- Managing efficient and effective IACUC programs remains one of your top concerns, as both the 2005 and 2015 IACUC Conferences have plenary sessions devoted to the topic. In 2005, we looked specifically at “doing more with less” and the question of managing an effective program while balancing resources. This year, our first panel explores self-imposed regulatory burden, focusing on strategies for improving IACUC efficiency and reducing burdens on researchers.
- Sessions on nontraditional species were rare, but important, in 2005. Sessions explored IACUCs and birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and field studies. We know these topics continue to be relevant to your work, and this year we've built a new "Not Your Average IACUC" track for sessions that focus on research with nontraditional species, or uncommon situations. From protocols using wild species and laboratory aquatics oversight to large animal models and challenges for smaller organizations, we hope to cover these topics in greater depth through this new track.
- A final highlight of the 2005 IACUC Conference was the introduction of our poster presentations. The 2005 conference included poster abstracts, exploring research topics of Fear, Anxiety, and Stress in the Laboratory; Novel IACUC Outreach Efforts to Facilitate Animal Protocol Submissions; and Developing an Integrated Post-Approval Auditing Program for IACUCs Focusing on Assessment, Trending, Education, Auditing, and Adjustments. Our poster presentation program has grown substantially since 2005, and members can learn more about past poster abstracts in our Knowledge Center!
As you can see, the conference has changed in meaningful ways over the past 10 years. Some areas of interest have expanded, and we continue to recognize the importance of communications, efficiencies, and collaborations in the success of your IACUCs. What will the next 10 years hold, for both the IACUC Conference and the field at large? Share your predictions in the comments, and visit the 2015 IACUC Conference website to learn more about this year’s program and how to register.