On behalf of the Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Chancellor’s Animal Research Committee (ARC), we are pleased to announce the launch of RATS 2.0 on June 15, 2020.
Overview of New RATS
Beginning in January 2018 and continuing through today, ORA staff have been working closely with ARC members, faculty, DLAM staff, and other colleagues on campus to take an off-the-shelf IACUC submission and review product and customize it to the needs of the UCLA research community. In addition to building a library of standard substances and procedures that are the hallmark of the new system, we’ve made some modifications that we think you will appreciate, including:
- Elimination of pain category assignments for non-USDA regulated species
- Elimination of the search for alternatives for non-USDA regulated species
- Creation of a calculator to aid in tallying animal numbers
- Provision of options to choose from in explaining your numbers justifications
- Use of general housing areas over specific rooms when animals are housed in the vivarium
- Elimination of detailed GMA and hazardous agent information and need for approval
The resulting RATS 2.0 is a dramatically different program from the current (soon-to-be legacy) system you use for your protocols today. When legacy RATS went live in 2002, it represented a major improvement to our prior paper submission process. Similarly, RATS 2.0 introduces further advances to the review process that will ultimately improve the experience for all users, from investigators to committee members, and including administrative staff and ancillary reviewers. In particular, it is our hope that the amount of unnecessary experimental detail that has found its way into protocols over the years will be reduced as a result of the provision of a library of standard substances and procedures, to the benefit of investigators and ARC reviewers, alike.
In preparation for the June 15 launch, we will begin migrating data from your existing approved protocols into the new system so that all approved protocols appear in the system when we go live. Following the launch of RATS 2.0, legacy RATS will remain available in a limited fashion in case you need to view your approved protocols or other information in the legacy system. If you have a protocol under review at the time of launch, we will complete your review in legacy RATS, then migrate your protocol into RATS 2.0. If you have a draft in legacy RATS that was created prior to March 31, 2020, and the draft has not been submitted for review, it will be withdrawn from the system and unavailable for further editing when we launch RATS 2.0.
For the migration of your approved protocols, where we do not have a direct match for data between systems, you will see blank fields in your migrated protocol in RATS 2.0. In all cases, we will attach a full PDF of your approved protocol from legacy RATS to the protocol in RATS 2.0. With your first amendment or triennial review (renewal), you will be required to completely populate the smartform.
Over the last few months, we have trained over 200 individuals on the new system, which is great, but there are many more of you we’d like to see at a training. This month, we are introducing an advanced training, at which attendees will directly edit their migrated protocols in the live system. If you have not already attended our basic RATS 2.0 training, or if you want to sign up for an advanced session, contact RATSHelp@research.ucla.edu.
RATS 2.0 will be available at the same URL as the current RATS program: rats.research.ucla.edu. All personnel listed on your approved protocol will be active in the new system and will be able to view the protocol(s) on which they are listed. If there are personnel who have left your lab and who should no longer have this access, please remove them from the protocol promptly. In addition, because the list of personnel provides data to DLAM’s eSirius, it is important for all personnel to update their profile in RATS 2.0 to include contact information, including an off-campus or after-hours phone number. If you are unable to login to RATS 2.0, please email us at RATSHelp@research.ucla.edu.
With the launch of any new system, there will be a period of adjustment, during which there may be questions, concerns, even frustration as you adapt to new approaches and processes. We acknowledge that the launch of RATS 2.0 comes at a time when many of you are preparing a return to on-campus or field research activities after being away for the last few months. There is never a perfect time to go live with something that impacts so many people in such a dramatic way.
Where you experience problems with the system, we implore you to contact us promptly. Where you have suggestions for improvement, we also welcome those ideas. Meanwhile, we will continue to hold regular training sessions and will announce virtual office hours for one-on-one assistance.
Thank you in advance for your partnership as we prepare for RATS 2.0!