The Protocol-Grant Congruence Process
UW-Madison is required by PHS, NIH, and NSF to verify that the animal work outlined in the grant application is congruent with corresponding IACUC-approved protocols. Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) will not release money to an investigator doing research with live vertebrate animals until RARC has verified congruence.
During their review, RARC animal program assessment specialists will confirm that
- the grant and protocol both list
- the same animal species
- the same number of animals (the protocol can have a higher, but not lower, number than the grant)
- the same agent, drug, or class of drugs used
- any procedure on live vertebrate animals listed in the grant is described in the protocol
What PIs and/or research administrators should do:
- If you receive a fundable score on your grant application, make sure that all the procedures and agents in your application are listed in your protocol. If they are not, submit an amendment to the IACUC. The congruence verification is not complete until any required amendments are approved by the IACUC.
- When you get notice from a grants management officer at NIH (not the automated message) that your project will likely be funded, you will need to first add the grant to the protocol and then request congruence. Instructions follow.
How to add your grant to your protocol:
- After you log into ARROW, select the applicable protocol.
- In the left column under "Activities" select "Non-Reviewed Changes."
- In the pop-up window, click on the "Funding" tab.
- In "RSP-managed funding" at the top of the page, click "Add," then filter by PI Name, MSN#, Project Title, Sponsor Reference Number, Project ID, or Sponsor. Select the correct grant from the list. Choose the grant that lists the full funding period, such as the 5-year listing for an R01.
- Click "OK."
- Click "Submit Changes" at the bottom of the form.
- Include all applicable grants on new and renewal protocol applications, and delete expired grants.
How to request grant-protocol congruence:
- Go to the protocol workspace page of the applicable protocol. Under Activities, click the "Request Fund Congruence Check" activity button. In the popup, select the correct grant from the list.
- In the appropriate text box, enter the names of anyone else who needs to receive the congruence letter, such as a department administrator or lab manager.
- Enter any information that may be helpful to the congruence office in the optional text field, such as how soon you need this review to be completed.
- Click "OK"
The congruence office will automatically receive this request and will contact you if they need additional information. You can speed up the process by ensuring that the grant has been uploaded to the WISPER record. If it has not, please email us the grant (but ensure that attachments are less than 5 MB!).
The PI and anyone else who was designated will receive a congruence letter when the process is complete. In addition, the letters are archived in the “Official Letters” tab in the protocol workspace.
In general, assessment specialists need at least five business days to process a grant-protocol congruence request. If a PI needs to amend his or her protocol to be consistent with the grant application, the process will take longer.
Tips on writing the vertebrate animal section of an NIH grant
Make certain that all the procedures and agents to be used on animals are clearly outlined in the vertebrate animal section (VAS). Identify the species, strains, ages, sex and numbers of animals, and concisely describe the proposed procedures the animals will undergo. Include all experimental and control groups. Read the NIH VAS checklist.
Information on the veterinary care of the animals
PIs can use the following information to describe veterinary care at UW-Madison:
UW-Madison employs 14 veterinarians with experience and training in research animal care. The veterinarians and veterinary technicians provide care during regular business hours, after business hours via a 24-hour on-call service, and on weekends and holidays. All veterinary staff have workplace cell phones and email access. Additional veterinary support is contracted with area clinics primarily to serve outlying agricultural facilities. Veterinary staff are actively involved in preventative medicine, disease surveillance programs, clinical care, animal surgery programs, staff training, and investigator consultations.
All animal-use protocols are reviewed and approved by one of the UW-Madison Animal Care and Use Committees, which oversee the research animal program according to PHS Policy, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the Animal Welfare Act and Regulations. The animal programs for the School of Medicine and Public Health, the School of Veterinary Medicine, the Vice Chancellor and Graduate Research Education Centers, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are all accredited by AAALAC International.