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Personnel Training Requirements

Florida State University is required, under the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy, to provide training for all personnel working with animals in research. The FSU ACUC has established minimum requirements that ALL individuals (faculty, staff and students) must complete prior to beginning any animal work at FSU. This includes faculty principal investigators who do not themselves work directly with animals because they have the ultimate responsibility for the personnel listed on their animal use protocols. Prior to beginning any work with animals, individuals are required to be listed on an approved ACUC animal use protocol, be enrolled in the FSU Medical Monitoring Program for Vertebrate Animal Exposure and to have undergone ACUC mandated training. Submitted protocols or significant changes with personnel who have not completed all mandated training at the time of the ACUC meeting will be placed into a Requires Modifications category. The ACUC will not grant final approval to a protocol or significant change until all training has been completed or an exemption approved

The training encompasses several broad areas related to animal research: 

  • ensure that individuals who use or provide care for animals are familiar with regulations and guidelines governing the use of animals in teaching and research;
  • ensure that individuals who use or provide care for animals are trained and qualified in the appropriate species-specific housing methods, husbandry procedures, and handling techniques;
  • ensure that research staff members performing experimental manipulation, including anesthesia and surgery, are qualified through training or experience to accomplish such procedures humanely and in a scientifically acceptable fashion;
  • provide training or instruction in research and testing methods that minimize the number of animals required to obtain valid results and minimize animal distress;
    provide training or instruction in research and testing methods that minimize animal distress;
  • ensure that professional staff whose work involves hazardous biological, chemical, or physical agents have training or experience to assess potential dangers and select and oversee the implementation of appropriate safeguards;
  • ensure that individuals are familiarized with methods that search for alternatives 

The ACUC recognizes that a limited group of individuals may request exemption from the mandated training requirements. Those that fall into this category include the following:

Visiting Faculty: Visiting faculty represent a unique group requiring special consideration in light of the short period of time they are generally present on campus. The FSU ACUC acknowledges that these individuals possess equivalent training or animal research experiences such that repeat training would be burdensome. In light of this fact, an exemption for training for visiting faculty is as follows: All visiting faculty experienced in the field of animal research conducting animal research at FSU will be exempt from completing FSU ACUC mandated training if they are present for a period of ninety (90) or fewer days (within one calendar year). Visiting faculty present for more than ninety (90) days (within a calendar year) will be required to undergo the mandated training. All animal research performed by visiting faculty must be done under the supervision of an appropriately trained FSU faculty member and under an FSU ACUC approved protocol. It will be the principal investigator’s responsibility to notify the ACUC secretary of any visiting faculty that will be on campus.

Incoming Faculty: The FSU ACUC recognizes that newly hired Faculty represent a second unique group with regard to training in that many have undergone training at one or more previous institutions. These individuals may request waiver of the mandated FSU ACUC training requirements when submitting a protocol. The request must be accompanied by documentation of similar comprehensive training from one or more previous institutions. Such documentation should include a listing of all training the individual has completed with enough detail for the ACUC to compare to current requirements. Examples of documentation may include a certificate of completion along with back-up documentation of covered training or a letter of from the institution delineating the completed training. The ACUC will evaluate the information to determine if the previous training is equivalent to or exceeds that currently required by FSU. The ACUC may accept all, some or none of the previous training as equivalent. If gaps in training remain following review, incoming faculty will be required to complete only those specific modules.

A manual covering the basics of animal research is supplied to all individuals by Laboratory Animal Resources at the time of training. Training should be scheduled through the LAR office (101 Biomedical Research Facility, 644-4262). Other specialized training opportunities are available upon request; contact the LAR office at 644-4262. Exemptions to training requirements may be requested in accordance with the current ACUC Training Policy.