Peer Review for Scientific Merit
All projects involving live animals require peer review for scientific merit as per Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) policy before approval can be granted.
The Facility Animal Care Committee (FACC) is mandated to ensure evidence of scientific merit prior to the approval of every Animal Use Protocol. See McGill UACC Policy on Peer Review for Scientific Merit - Oct 2019
The template form to be used by reviewers can be downloaded here:
In most cases, the funding agency performs this peer review before it grants funds to a project (such as CIHR, NSERC, NIH...). In cases where peer review has not been carried out by the granting agencies, the Faculties and Research Institutes have in place a mechanism that ensures that at least two independent experts, who do not collaborate with the protocol's author(s) (at least one of whom is not a member of the ACC), review the objectives, hypotheses, methods and contributions of the project. These internal peer reviews are valid for a maximum of 5 years but the ACC has the right to request new peer review at any time, especially if the goals have significantly changed.
For McGill-based investigators requesting peer review for their project, please contact the person in your Faculty:
- Faculty of Medicine: riac.med [at] mcgill.ca (Office of the Associate Dean (Research))
- Faculty of Science: Associate Dean Dr. STIX [at] EPS.MCGILL.CA (subject: Requesting%20Peer%20Review%20for%20Scientific%20Merit%20for%20a%20research%20project) (John Stix)
- Faculty of Dentistry: Associate Dean Dr. FALEH.TAMIMIMARINO [at] MCGILL.CA (subject: Request%20for%20peer%20review%20for%20scientific%20merit%20of%20a%20research%20project) (Faleh Tamimi)
- Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: research.macdonald [at] mcgill.ca (Office of the Associate Dean (Research)). For information on the request, please click here.
For hospital-based research institutes, please contact your Institute Director’s Office.
Peer Review for Pedagogical Merit of Live Animal-Based Teaching and Training
McGill University’s Animal Compliance Office (ACO) is mandated to ensure evidence of Pedagogical Merit prior to the approval of every protocol using live animals with the purpose of teaching or training. You may consult the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Policy and FAQs, as well as McGill University and Affiliated Research Institutes Pedagogical Merit Review policy for teaching and training for additional details on this policy.
The Pedagogical Merit Review initiative aims to assess the clear benefit to the use of animals in the course proposed. It evaluates the necessity of using live animals for the proposed outcomes and constructive curriculum alignment between the methods used for teaching/training, for the evaluation of learning outcomes, and the timing of the given course. From this perspective, the Pedagogical Merit Review is independent from Scientific Merit as it assesses specifically the necessity of using live animals for teaching or training.
The ACO has in place, a mechanism which ensures that at least two independent referees with knowledge of pedagogy and alternatives to animal-based teaching, and which do not sit on the Animal Care Committee (ACC), determine if the proposed animal-based teaching/training is essential to meeting learning objectives and outcomes. Selected reviewers come from a variety of backgrounds such as the Steinberg Simulation Centre, Faculty of Education, Environment and Geography, Bioresource Engineering, Psychology, and Behaviour Ecology and Neuroecology, to name a few. Every project involving live animals in teaching or training requires Pedagogical Merit Review as per CCAC policy before approval can be granted. This internal Pedagogical Merit Review is valid for a maximum of 4 years. The ACO reserves the right to request new Pedagogical Merit Review at any time, especially if the goals of the course significantly change.
Integral to this review process is feedback from students. For this purpose, a Pedagogical Merit Participant Feedback form is provided for each course and workshop in which students evaluate, from a learner’s perspective, the necessity and benefit of using animals in the course, regardless of the instructor’s project review cycle. This survey, in the form of an anonymous online questionnaire, is available using a computer or smartphone device through a link or QR code provided during the course or workshop and requires access through McGill credential.
Instructors of teaching or training courses are to use the following form and submit to the animal.approvals [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Instructor%20submitting%20a%20completed%20pedagogical%20merit%20form) (person administering the program) in the Animal Compliance Office:
Reviewers of the teaching and training courses are to use the following guide and form:
Students and participants will be asked to answer the following questions for their feedback: