Guidance on Qualifications of IACUC Nonscientific and Nonaffiliated Members

Notice Number: NOT-OD-15-109

Key Dates
Release Date: June 9, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


This Notice provides guidance to Public Health Service (PHS) awardee institutions and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) on the qualifications of nonscientific and nonaffiliated members of the IACUC.

The PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Policy) (IV.A.3.) defines the membership of the IACUC and requires that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) appoint the members. If the CEO delegates appointment authority, the delegation must be specific and in writing. The Policy specifies that the committee shall be qualified through the experience and expertise of its members. It describes the nonscientific member as one member whose primary concerns are in a nonscientific area and the nonaffiliated member as one individual who is not affiliated with the institution in any way other than as a member of the IACUC, and is not a member of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution.

The Policy allows one individual to fulfill the requirement for both a nonaffiliated and a nonscientific member as long as that individual meets the requirements for each position and the committee consists of no fewer than five members.

Qualifications of nonscientific and nonaffiliated members
It is the intent of the PHS Policy to have a diversity of perspectives in the membership of the committee. In evaluating the qualifications of an individual to serve as a nonscientific member, the CEO should consider appointing those with a na ve attitude with regard to science and scientific activities. A person without scientific training meets the Policy's intent, such as an ethicist, lawyer, or member of the clergy, as the Policy gives as examples. Some other examples include librarians, those working in business or finance, or instructors in English, history, or other liberal arts disciplines. When the rationale for categorizing an individual as a nonscientist is not apparent based on their occupation or training, the institution should maintain written documentation of the reason for the categorization.

To meet the intent of the Policy, the nonaffiliated member must represent the general community interests in the proper care and use of animals. The nonaffiliated member must not be (1) a laboratory animal user or former user, (2) affiliated with the institution, or (3) an immediate family member of an individual affiliated with the institution. Immediate family includes parent, spouse, child, and sibling. In evaluating the qualifications of an individual to serve as a nonaffiliated member, the CEO should confirm the appointee has no discernible ties or ongoing affiliation with the institution. Regarding service of former employees or students as nonaffiliated members, the appointing official must be assured that the person is not in any way obligated to the institution. Real or perceived conflicts of interest must be avoided to ensure the IACUC's and the institution's integrity. Appointment of an individual who is unambiguously unaffiliated is the most effective way to fulfill the intent of the Policy.


For questions or further information, contact:

Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
Telephone: 301-496-7163