*The use of this template for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between collaborating institutions is not required and is provided for the convenience of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) at Assured institutions. Sections may be added, deleted, or modified to meet the needs of individual programs.
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) recommends that collaborating institutions involving animal use should have a formal written understanding (e.g., a contract, memorandum of understanding, or agreement) that addresses the responsibility for offsite animal care and use, animal ownership, and IACUC review and oversight (p.15).
To help institutions meet the requirements of the Guide and to reduce the administrative burden associated with developing MOUs, the Federal Demonstration Partnership, in collaboration with OLAW, developed an MOU template. The template is intended to prevent problems and misunderstandings which could negatively impact research animals.
2. MOU Documents
The FDP provides two documents relevant to the MOU template:
- MOU Template:
- Designed for single projects but could be modified for frequent collaborators
- Covers specific areas of concern for regulators
- Program-wide acknowledgments
- Ownership & oversight
- Investigation & reporting
- Other (blank)
- User Manual
- Intentionally non-prescriptive
- Provides definitions to "translate" from each office
- Provides considerations for offices in choosing what documentation mechanism to utilize (i.e., MOU, subaward, Interinstitutional Assurance)
- Provides high-level considerations for institutions on how collaborative research is documented
- FAQs highlight specific considerations
3. Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
No. The document is intended to prevent problems and misunderstandings between collaborating institutions that could negatively impact research animals and to reduce the administrative burden associated with developing MOUs. However, the Guide states that a “formal written understanding” (e.g., a contract, MOU, or agreement) “should” be used “that addresses the responsibility for offsite animal care and use, animal ownership and IACUC review and oversight”.
“Should” indicates a strong recommendation for achieving a goal, understanding that individual circumstances might justify an alternative strategy.
The MOU is one type of document that may be used as a written agreement to meet the recommendations of the Guide. Collaborating institutions can use the MOU to address the responsibilities for animal care and use and to avoid ambiguities.
The Interinstitutional Assurance is a type of Assurance document issued by OLAW to an awardee institution that does not have its own animal program and uses an Assured institution to conduct animal activities. The awardee does not have its own animal care and use program, animal facilities, or IACUC. Therefore, it utilizes the Assured institution as the performance site.
Although collaborating institutions are involved in both cases, the MOU and the Interinstitutional Assurance are different documents and do not substitute for one another.
The MOU is independent of the Assurance mechanism and is recommended for any institution subject to the provisions of the Guide.
The Interinstitutional Assurance is a type of Assurance used by an institution that does not have its own animal program but depends on a performance site that has its own Domestic or Foreign Animal Welfare Assurance issued by OLAW.
- OLAW Webinar: MOUs for Collaborating Institutions: New Template from the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) - January 19, 2023