New Changes to Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) Of NIH Grant Application and Contract Proposal Requirements

From the Office of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a change to Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) of grant applications, cooperative agreements, and contract proposals on October 13, 2015. These changes remove some redundancy and simplify the review process.

The changes consist of:

  • No longer requiring a description of veterinary care provided.
  • Eliminating the justification for the number of animals.
  • Only requiring a description of the euthanasia method if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia of Animals.

For the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria:

  • Description of procedures involving animals including species, strains, ages, sex and total number to be used;
  • Justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed;
  • Interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and
  • Justification for the euthanasia method if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals.

The changes are effective for all applications except fellowship and training grants for due dates on or after January 25, 2016.  For more information consult the NIH notice or the VAS section of the NIH webpage.

For more information on Emory’s institutional requirements regarding vertebrate animal care and use, please contact the IACUC office at

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