Pilot Studies (IACUC)


Boston University (BU) is committed to observing Federal policies and regulations and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International standards for the humane care and use of animals.  This policy provides guidance on pilot studies.

Covered Parties

This policy covers all animals on BU premises used for research, teaching, training, breeding, and related activities, hereinafter referred to collectively as “activities”, and is applicable to all persons responsible for conducting activities involving live vertebrate animals at or under the auspices of Boston University.

University Policy

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that when novel studies are proposed or information for an alternative endpoint is lacking, the use of pilot studies is an effective method for identifying and defining humane endpoints and reaching consensus among the PI, IACUC, and veterinarian. A system for communication with the IACUC should be in place both during and after such studies (Guide, p 28).

BU follows the Guide pilot study requirements.

I. Guidelines

It is acceptable to ask for animals that will be used in pilot experiments. Experiments can be used to perfect technique, demonstrate feasibility, or provide a justification for proceeding with larger, more tightly controlled experiments. Another justification to the use of pilot studies could be to estimate variability. The value so obtained can then be used to calculate group sizes in upcoming experiments by power analysis.


A. Responsibilities


B. Procedures

C. Responsible Parties


Effective Date:            10/5/2021

Next Review Date:      10/4/2024

First Approved:           6/3/2014

Revised:                      10/5/2021

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