After you have submitted
Who approves it?
How are applications assessed?
In assessing an animal research application, the AEC reviews your application and considers the scientific merit of your work and the impact on, and wellbeing of, the animals including monitoring and care.
Does the research justify the use of animals at all? This question applies to all projects, even when they entail little risk of pain or distress to the animals. The underlying principle here is that poorly-conducted research is unethical even if it involves no harm to the animals. Key issues here concern:
- the general scientific justification of the project;
- the justification of interventions involving stress or pain (these are subjected to particularly close scrutiny by the committee);
- the experience of the investigators with the animals and procedure and
- whether the number of animals yields adequate statistical power and/or replication.
Impact on the animals
Most of the chief concerns of the committee relate to this question.
Typical issues include:
- whether appropriate housing and husbandry are being used;
- the use of appropriate types and doses of anaesthetic;
- the use of appropriate post-operative analgesia;
- plans for veterinary emergencies and
- the use of appropriate euthanasia.
Adequacy of monitoring
The issue of monitoring is vitally important to the AEC. Issues to address include:
- routine husbandry (e.g. are the animals' receiving adequate food and water at all times?);
- early detection of identified threats to animals' welfare (e.g., possible morbidity from a tumor?);
- unexpected threats to animals' welfare (e.g. infection in the animal colony?);
- the use of monitoring sheets and other procedures for assessing animal welfare and
- the frequency of monitoring following procedures that impact on animal welfare.
How long does it take?
Generally, researchers are notified of the outcome from a AEC meeting within 10 working days of a meeting.
How will I be notified?
Researchers are notified of the outcome via email. The email is sent to the chief investigator with a copy to all named investigators.
What does the outcome Category mean?
Category A – there are no outstanding ethical or administrative issues and the application is approved.
Category A with conditions – there are no outstanding ethical issues however there are some specific conditions of approval the researchers must comply with. These may require you to submit material to the ethics office.
Category B Office – there are no objections to the study however some reasonably straightforward amendments/clarifications are required. These are reviewed by nominated ethics office staff.
Category B Chair – there are no objections to the study however some amendments/clarifications that require more detailed consideration are required. These are reviewed by chair of the committee that reviewed the application.
Category C – the committee was unable to make an assessment and there are major amendments/clarifications required which are significant enough in quality or quantity to require reconsideration by the full committee. Your response will be reviewed by the same committee at the next available meeting round (refer to submission deadlines).
Category D – this application was not approved due to significant ethical, methodological or administrative issues. The applicant is invited to discuss the matter directly with the chair of the committee and submit a new application.
Escalated – the application has been escalated for review by another person or committee.
What if I am asked to make changes?
Approval may be pending receipt of other approvals or further information, or clarification may be required. Depending on the outcome, you will need to meet any conditions determined by the AEC.
You may be asked to supply further information for further review by the AEEC or AEC.
If your application cannot be approved you will be informed by email and asked to discuss your application with the AEC Chair.
The AEC is very open to discussion and may encourage you to attend a meeting to discuss your research.
Once your study has been approved you will receive a final letter of approval, which you must retain as part of your study records. Make sure you are aware of the details of your approval, including any conditions, responsibilities and reporting deadlines, which are explained in Understanding the Letter of Approval.
Please note that commercial applications are required to pay an administration fee of $2500 +GST.