Animal Ethics Applications

Guidelines & procedures for the submission of animal ethics applications.

submit or amend application eform 'how-to' guides


All University personnel who wish to use animals for teaching, research or experimentation must  obtain ethical approval from the University of Adelaide Animal Ethics Committee prior to any use or involvement with animals, irrespective of where they are located, where animals may be housed or used, or of the source of funding.

The use of animals for teaching, research or experimentation is regulated by State legislation, the South Australian Animal Welfare Act 1985. The University of Adelaide Animal Ethics Committee must ensure that all animal care and use is conducted in compliance with the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (8th Edition 2013) and that it incorporates the principle of the three R's - Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.

Student projects must also receive University of Adelaide ethical clearance.

Note: Please read the Guidelines & Applications sections carefully prior to applying for Animal Ethics Approval.

The following resources provide the necessary legislative & advisory framework for University personnel to adequately prepare an animal ethics application:

  • Animal Ethics Committee animal users handbook

    The University of Adelaide adheres to the Animal Welfare Act (1985), the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, and other relevant animal welfare Codes of Practice.

    The animal user's handbook has been developed to assist scientific investigators and teachers to achieve the goals of the Australian Code, and to promote the humane and ethical use of animals for scientific purposes.

    The Animal User's Handbook provides essential information for all who are involved in University research and teaching involving animals.

    The University expects new applicants in particular to consult the Animal User's Handbook prior to submitting proposals for ethical clearance.

    See also:

    Record keeping requirements

    Scavenging/collection of animal materials

  • Australian Code & NHMRC guidelines

    Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes - 8th edition (2013)

    The purpose of the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition 2013 (the Code) is to promote the ethical, humane and responsible care and use of animals used for scientific purposes.

    The ethical framework and governing principles set out in the Code provide guidance for investigators, teachers, institutions, animal ethics committees and all people involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

    The Code emphasises the responsibilities of investigators, teachers, and institutions when using animals, in order to:

    • ensure that the use of animals is justified, taking into consideration the scientific or educational benefits and the potential effects on the welfare of the animals;
    • ensure that the welfare of the animals is always considered;
    • promote the development and use of techniques that replace the use of animals in scientific and teaching activities;
    • minimise the number of animals used in projects; and
    • refine methods and procedures to avoid pain or distress in animals used in scientific and teaching activities.

    Further information

    New resources will be added as they become available. Please refer to the NHMRC website frequently to keep apprised of new information.

  • South Australian Animal Welfare Act (1985)

    The use of animals for teaching, research or experimentation is regulated by State legislation - the South Australian Animal Welfare Act 1985.

    The University of Adelaide is licensed under the Act to acquire and use animals only when approval has been granted by its Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

    No animal may be held or used for any purpose until written approval has been obtained from the Committee.

  • Replacement, reduction, & refinement (the 3 R's)

    The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Three Rs microsite has been published on the CCAC website.

    The CCAC Three Rs microsite aims to provide those involved with the use of animals in science with easily accessible, useful, and relevant information and resources on the Three Rs - replacement, reduction and refinement alternatives.

    This microsite will be continually evolving and the CCAC encourages visitors to check back regularly to view new additions to the site.

Application for ethical approval is made using the University of Adelaide AEC online form.

Access to the online form is controlled using the same username and password as your University email account. All applications are to be submitted on the online form, including when dual clearance is required (see below).

Please review the guidelines, policies and clearance requirements prior to submitting your application for animal ethics approval.

  • Overview of submission process


    Two faculty-based Animal Ethics Committees, Science and Medical, meet to consider all applications for ethical approval including amendment or variation to existing clearances.


    There are separate deadlines for the two committees for submission of applications.


    Before you create a new application or minor amendment please read the Guidelines and relevant application information. Guideline/help information is included in the form.


    To create a new application login to the ResearchMaster system.

    To amend an existing approved project contact the AEC Secretariat (T) 8313 4417 or (E)
    then login to the new ResearchMaster system and create a new minor amendment application.


    The online form consists of a series of pages each containing one or more questions. Uploading of attachments is part of the process online.


    Once the online form sections are completed submit online. Submit applications prior to advised deadlines.


    An online preview (Pre-Screen) takes place before a final version of the application is submitted. Pre-screen preview will take place during a 2 week period.


    System generated emails will be sent regarding acknowledgements, instructions and requests for further information and revision or subsequent actions. It is important to note that all correspondence is online within the application. You may be required to provide additional information and revise your application online.


    If you are required to respond to queries from the Secretariat or AWO during the Pre-screen stage you need to ensure that you resubmit your application online ensuring all attachments are included. Note that you are not required to submit a signed PDF version of the application at the submit/resubmit stage.


    The last date for submission of final version applications for each meeting is listed in the deadlines tab. Applications submitted after deadlines will be held until the next round of business.


    Applications are sent to AEC members 2 weeks prior to each meeting. Copies for the AEC will be made by Research Services.


    After the AEC has considered your application you may be required to respond to queries. Ensure that all information is provided, attachments included and that you resubmit your application online. Following review of the resubmitted application.


    All subsequent project documentation will be available to you within the record online.


    To access an application previously approved by the AEC for a project completed before 31 December 2008 please contact the AEC Secretariat.

  • Writing your application

    Written proposals should place before the Animal Ethics Committee sufficient information to satisfy the Committee that the proposed use of animals is justified and complies with the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement.

    Written proposals should be presented in a form that allows the Committee to easily assess information provided. They should be written in a manner that can be understood by all members of the Committee, and must identify the impact of all sections of the proposal on animals used and means by which the impact will be minimised.

    The application form seeks information from applicants in order to meet the requirements of the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013 (refer to chapter 2.7). Applicants should be familiar with the contents of the Code before completing the application form.

    Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting an application for ethical approval to the Animal Ethics Committee.

    Animal Welfare Officer

    The Animal Welfare Officer will be pleased to provide veterinary advice and technical assistance. Applicants for ethical approval may find it useful to contact the Animal Welfare Officer in the planning stages prior to submission to the Committee.

  • Dual clearance

    University personnel located within other institutions must apply to the University's Animal Ethics Committee as well as to the ethics committee of the other institution(s).

    University degree candidates located within other institutions require ethical clearance by the University's Animal Ethics Committee as well as the institutional committee at the place where research is conducted.

    • Advice for University of Adelaide staff and students working at SAHMRI requiring dual clearance
  • Student research

    In the case of a student project, the supervisor is to be the applicant with the student named as also involved. University degree candidates located at another institution require dual clearance (see above).

  • Undergraduate teaching projects

    Additional procedures apply to applications involving use of animals for undergraduate teaching.

    Please note that all proposals for animal use in teaching in which students are to interact with, or handle, animals or carry out a procedure on an animal must include details of:

    • the maximum number of students to be supervised by each teacher;
    • the minimum and maximum number of animals to be used by each student;
    • the maximum number of time each animal will be used; and
    • how the attainment of the educational objectives will be assessed.

    In addressing (4) the Committee requires a clear statement of the educational objectives for the teaching exercise accompanied by an assessment which clearly supports the request to use animals i.e. dissection skill, anatomical knowledge, etc.

  • Breeding colony establishment & maintenance

    Application for ethical approval to establish and maintain an animal breeding colony is made using the online Animal Ethics Committee application form, with an Application for Ethical Approval to Establish & Maintain an Animal Breeding Colony form provided as an attachment to the submission.

    The purpose of this form is to allow the Committee to be informed of the potential welfare implications of the animals you wish to introduce/breed. It also informs the AEC of the proportion of animals bred which are ultimately useful for your purpose (ie. the wastage rate). If the animals being bred are genetically modified, phenotype reporting is to be completed and submitted with the application.

    When a breeding colony of animals is permitted, animal production record-keeping and reporting requirements also apply.

  • GM & natural mutant animals - phenotype report

    When applying for animal ethics approval which includes the use of genetically modified (GM) or natural mutant animals, the Investigator should submit with their Application, a completed phenotype report.

    For those situations where a new* colony, breed or strain of animal is proposed to be used, the Committee requires further information to be supplied on the phenotype once this is available. This will require timely submission of:

    Following consideration of the information, the Committee may approve further use of the strain or may request a revision of the proposal.

    In addition to the phenotype report, the requirement to promptly report unexpected occurrences of animal morbidity or mortality to the Animal Ethics Committee applies to these projects.

    When a breeding colony of animals is permitted, animal production record-keeping and reporting requirements also apply.

    *the genetically modified animal strain has not previously been approved by the Committee

  • Clinical record sheet for animal monitoring

    Use of a clinical record sheet is expected for most research involving animals.

    Please include an example as an attachment to your application. Clinical record sheets should be tailored to the particulars of the project.

    See standard clinical record sheets for:

    Clinical record sheets and standard operating procedures are available on the Laboratory Animal Services website. 

  • Use of privately owned animals

    Informed owner consent must be obtained for use of privately owned animals for teaching or research purposes. The Animal Ethics Committee needs to receive a blank proforma of the owner consent form or forms proposed, including the information provided to owners in a variety of circumstances.

    Example or blank 'templates' of owner consent forms that can be tailored to best suit individual projects are given below.

Applications received after listed dates will be held until the next round of business.

  • Faculty of Sciences applicants

    Animal Ethics Committee (Science) application dates 2020
    AEC(S) meeting Submit new/amended application to PRESCREEN Submit final application/ amendment after pre-screen completed Committee (Science) meeting date
    7 30 Aug 2020 20 Sep 2020 8 Oct 2020
    8 11 Oct 2020 1 Nov 2020 19 Nov 2020
  • Faculty of Health Sciences applicants

    Animal Ethics Committee (Medical) application dates 2020
    AEC(M) meeting Submit new/amended application to PRESCREEN Submit final application/ amendment after pre-screen completed Committee (Medical) meeting date
    7 13 Sep 2020 4 Oct 2020 22 Oct 2020
    8 18 Oct 2020 8 Nov 2020 26 Nov 2020

It is necessary to apply to the Animal Ethics Committee for amendments to existing approvals if:

  • the project is to continue for a longer period of time
  • additional/new personnel will be working on the project
  • additional animals are required, or
  • if any change to the procedure is proposed.

Submitting a minor amendment application

Minor amendment applications are submitted online in ResearchMaster. Please contact the AEC Secretariat before you create an amendment using the online form for the first time:

Amendments to a project must be approved by the Committee before the amendments occur, and will be considered at scheduled Committee meetings.

The Executive of the Animal Ethics Committee may consider and approve a minor modification to a project out of session, for review at the next Committee meeting. It has been agreed that this will not be normal practice and will only happen when there is a strong argument for urgency or it has a direct animal welfare impact. The case for urgency must be provided in writing to support the request.

Please check relevant deadline dates prior to submission.

All applications for a minor amendment are limited to changes that fit the criteria outlined below:

  • Time extension

    The maximum period for time extension is 12 months.

    Do not allow the approval period to expire if work is to continue. If work has not begun and expiry is within 6 months, a time extension may be considered, effective from the original expiry date.

  • Increase in animal numbers

    The increase in animal numbers is no more than 30% of the original approval.

    If more than 30% of the original number of animals is required, a new application must be completed so that the scientific justification as well as the welfare implications can be addressed.

  • Change in species

    If the impact on the proposed new species is consistent with the species identified in the original application.

  • Change in procedure

    Minor modifications to procedures/methodology, including changes in drug treatments.

    A new application must be submitted when the scientific question is different to the original approved application.

    An amendment application does not involve change in the main aims of the project or the asking of a new scientific question.

  • Adding new personnel

    New staff, students and other investigators need to be added to the list of personnel authorised to work on the approved project before they commence any activity involving animals.

    The Animal Ethics Committee should also be notified when personnel leave the University and/or are no longer working on the project.

  • Other minor amendments

    Other changes that can be considered as a minor amendment include:

    • change of location of research
    • change of source of animals
    • refinement in techniques that are beneficial to animal welfare having a lesser impact than the original protocol
    • refinement in husbandry and animal housing that is beneficial to the animal

Further information