Frequently Asked Questions

Submitting an Application

Approvals

Following a Submission

Feedback

Submitting an Application

Q. I’m trying to submit an application but I can’t see the Animal Ethics tab in IRMA, where is it?

A. If you cannot see the Animal Ethics tab, You may need to select the display Animal Ethics panel in the My Preferences area under the 'My Researcher Profile' tab.

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Log into IRMA
  2. Select the 'My Preferences' tab at the top right hand side of your screen.
  3. Move to the 'My Researcher Profile' tab in the options.
  4. Ensure that the Display Animal Ethics panel has 'Yes' selected

Q. How do I print the questionnaire form?

A. To print a questionnaire you need to select the form in the Animal Ethics tab and press the print icon on the Coversheet, this will print the entire document. Please note that, the file generated is normally a Rich Text Format (rtf). You will need to save it into a word format once created.

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Log into IRMA
  2. Navigate to the ‘Animal Ethics’ tab
  3. Press the Pencil button next to the form you would like to print
  4. Press ‘Print’ on the ‘Coversheet’ tab
  5. Press the magnifying glass button next to the form.
  6. Select link (1) to open a document which you can save to your computer in a word format
  7. Select link (2) when you want to move back to your form

Q. How can I view all of the questions in the questionnaire so that I can prepare my application prior entering details into IRMA?

A. The list of questions contained in the questionnaire for new applications in IRMA can be found on the Animal Ethics website
Under Section 1. Prepare – Review the questions. Please note that as the questionnaire is designed to be interactive, that is, the answers you provide drive logic to display the next relevant question, you may not need to answer all of the questions displayed.


Q. When I try to link a study to a form I am creating, the relevant project does not appear in the list.

A.First, try pressing ‘Reset’ and type in one or two consecutive words from the title of your application.
Then press ‘Search’. If you still can't see it, this may be because you were not listed on the coversheet in the original application (this can happen even if you were the one to submit the application). If this is the case, you will need to get the Chief Investigator (or someone else who is listed on the protocol) to create the required form and also add you on to the coversheet using the ‘Add’ button.

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Press ‘Reset’.
  2. Type in one or two consecutive words from the title of your application.
  3. Press ‘Search’.

Q. How do I add personnel to the initial application?

A. This is done in the Coversheet tab of the application. Remember to select ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Other Internal/External Investigators Involved?’ as this will create the ‘Add’ button which will enable you to add individuals.

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Log into IRMA
  2. Navigate to the ‘Animal Ethics’ tab and press the ‘Create’ button
  3. Select ‘Application form’ from the dropdown menu
  4. Press the ‘Next’ button which will take you to the ‘Coversheet’ tab
  5. To enter the Chief Investigator details press the ‘Add’ button.
  6. In the search screen, type in the Chief Investigator’s surname or Staff ID and press ‘Search’
  7. Select the Chief Investigator from the list generated by pressing the ‘Link’ button
  8. Internal Investigators (staff, affiliates and students of the University who have a unikey) and External Investigators are added in a similar way.
  9. First select ‘Yes’ from the dropdown menu next to the question “Other Internal Investigators Involved?” (Internal Investigators) or “Other External Investigators Involved?” (External Investigators) and enter the number of other investigators
  10. This will then create the ‘Add’ button
  11. Move through steps 5 – 7 to add investigators
  12. Complete the rest of the details in all of the tabs
  13. Once the form is ready to submit press the ‘Submit’ button

Q. I have submitted my application and now realise I forgot to add specific information or documents. How do I edit this?

A. Once an application has been submitted you will not be able to make any amendments. Please contact and request that the application is reset to ‘Draft’ status. Once the form has been reset, you can make amendments and add further information/documents.


Q. I am a student completing an ethics application. Whose name do I put on the coversheet?

A. Students (PhD, Honours, or Masters) cannot be listed as the Chief Investigator on the coversheet. They should be listed as a student under the 'Internal Investigators' section, along with any other co-investigators. The project supervisor should be listed as the Chief Investigator.

Steps in IRMA

  1. Navigate to the ‘Animal Ethics’ tab
  2. Either Create a new form or open an existing saved form (using the pencil icon)
  3. In the ‘Coversheet’ tab
  4. For internal Investigators select ‘Yes’ for ‘Other investigators Involved’ and type in the number of other investigators
  5. Then for both internal and Chief investigators, press the ‘Add’ button
  6. Type in the Surname or Staff ID
  7. Press ‘Search’
  8. Select the relevant person from the list by pressing ‘Link”
  9. You will then return to the ‘Coversheet’ tab

Q. What types of documents do I need to upload in the 'Documents' tab in IRMA?

A. Examples of documents you may need to provide in your application include:

  • Information Statement
  • Consent Form
  • WH&S Risk Assessment (for projects involving some risk)
  • Monitoring sheets
  • phenotype reports
  • Copies of permits and licenses

For Completion Reports:

  • Copies of publications which have arisen from the study

For Adverse Events

  • Photographs of injuries
  • Revised monitoring sheets

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Navigate to the ‘Animal Ethics’ tab
  2. Either Create a new form or open an existing saved form (using the pencil icon)
  3. Move to the ‘Documents’ tab
  4. Press the ‘Add’ button
  5. Add and description and select the type of document then browse your documents to select the relevant file. Note that the description you provide here will be the wording that is used in the approval letter.
  6. Press ‘Upload’ (large files may take some time to upload)
  7. You will then return to the ‘Documents’ tab where you will see the file uploaded.
  8. Once you have completed all of the required information in each tab, return to the ‘Coversheet’ and press ‘Submit”

Once a form has been submitted you will not be able to make any amendments or add documents.


Q. I have tried to submit an annual/completion report, however I am unable to report animal usage numbers

Prior to submitting an annual/completion report you first need to submit the form ‘High Priority - Confirmation of Animal Numbers’.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log in to IRMA.
  • Click on 'Researcher Profile' at the top right.
  • Click on the 'Animal Ethics' tab, ensuring that you are in the ‘view forms’ window.
  • Select the relevant pre-created ‘High Priority – Confirmation of Animal Numbers’ form from the list in the table by clicking the ‘pencil’ button.
  • Review the previously reported animal usage in the ‘Coversheet’ tab.
  • Navigate to the ‘Animal Usage’ tab and complete the information fields
  • Once all details are complete press the ‘Save’ button
  • Then return to the ‘Coversheet’ tab and press 'Submit’ to submit your form.
  • Once the Ethics Office has accepted the information (this will take 24 hours to process) you will then be able to submit an annual report.

Q. What time do applications close? Can I submit after this time until midnight?

A. Yes, you can submit until midnight. However, your submission will not be included on an agenda until all required signatories have ‘approved’ the submission in IRMA (including the faculty approver). Therefore, to ensure your application can be included on the next agenda please submit as early as possible.

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Log into IRMA
  2. Navigate to the 'My Approvals' tab
  3. Press the 'Pencil' button to review the form
  4. Press the 'Approve' button to approve the form (i.e. provide sign off)
  5. If you have a query regarding the form, enter your concerns in the memo field and press the ‘Reject’ button. These concerns will be sent to the researcher by the Animal Ethics team, and the form will be changed to draft mode so they can be addressed before it is resubmitted for review by the AEC.

Approvals

Q. Who needs to approve my application in IRMA?

A. The approval required depends on the type of submission. Sign off is required from the following individuals:

  • New applications - Chief Investigator, Faculty Approver, LAS Facility Supervisor (if applicable), all co-investigators. A new application will only be considered at an AEC meeting if all key signatories (Chief Investigator, faculty approver and animal facility supervisor if applicable) have signed off. Before a final approval can be issued all investigators need to have signed off the application in IRMA.
  • Modifications to Personnel and Funding only - Chief Investigator.
  • Modifications to Animal Numbers and Housing and Modifications to an Existing Approved Protocol - Chief Investigator and Animal Facility Supervisor (If applicable).
  • Reports – Chief Investigator
  • Adverse Events – Chief Investigator

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Log into IRMA
  2. Navigate to the 'My Approvals' tab
  3. Press the 'Pencil' button to review the form
  4. Press the 'Approve' button to approve the form (i.e. provide sign off)
  5. If you have a query regarding the form, enter your concerns in the memo field and press the ‘Reject’ button. These concerns will be sent to the researcher by the Animal Ethics team, and the form will be changed to draft mode so they can be addressed before it is resubmitted for review by the AEC.

Q. Do external investigators need to provide sign off/approval?

A. Approval is required from external investigators. As they do not have IRMA access, they will need to complete an ‘External Researcher Approval’ form.

Steps in IRMA:

  • This form needs to be uploaded in the 'Documents' tab and labelled ‘External Researcher Approval’

Q. How do I know when I need to approve an application in IRMA? How do I approve/reject applications?

A. You will receive an email notifying you that you have been listed on an application in IRMA, and asking you to log in to IRMA and approve the application. This is why it is very important that you keep your email address up to date in your IRMA profile.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log into IRMA
  • Navigate to the 'My Approvals' tab
  • Press the 'Pencil' button to review the form
  • Press the 'Approve' button to approve the form (i.e. provide sign off)
  • If you have a query regarding the form, enter your concerns in the memo field and press the ‘Reject’ button. These concerns will be sent to the researcher by the Animal ethics team, and the form will be changed to draft mode so they can be addressed before it is resubmitted for review by the AEC.

Q. Which investigators will be required to sign off on a submission?

A. All co-investigators are required to sign off on new applications and will receive an e-mail asking them to log into IRMA to complete this. All co-investigators are required to approve an application prior to the outcome of the AEC meeting being issued.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log into IRMA
  • Navigate to the 'My Approvals' tab
  • Press the 'Pencil' button to review the form
  • Press the 'Approve' button to approve the form (i.e. provide sign off)
  • If you have a query regarding the form, enter your concerns in the memo field and press the ‘Reject’ button. These concerns will be sent to the researcher by the Animal ethics team, and the form will be changed to draft mode so they can be addressed before it is resubmitted for review by the AEC.

Q. The signatories on my application are incorrect, how do I get them changed?

Please email and explain why you wish signatories to be changed.


Q. How will my supervisor/co-investigators know to sign off on my application?

A. They will receive an email asking them to log into IRMA to approve the document.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log into IRMA
  • Navigate to the 'My Approvals' tab
  • Press the 'Pencil' button to review the form
  • Press the 'Approve' button to approve the form (i.e. provide sign off)
  • If you have a query regarding the form, enter your concerns in the memo field and press the ‘Reject’ button. These concerns will be sent to the researcher by the Animal ethics team, and the form will be changed to draft mode so they can be addressed before it is resubmitted for review by the AEC.

Q. How will I know if a submission has been approved by my supervisor/co-investigators?

A. We are working on providing this function in IRMA. For now, check the status has changed from “Submitted and pending approval” to “Assigned to a meeting”. If you are still not sure send an email to to check who still needs to approve the application.


Q. I haven’t put down the head of department/faculty approver in my application; will they get an approval request?

A. Yes, this will happen automatically.


Q. How do I know who the faculty approval email is going to and if it is the correct person?

A. We are working on providing this function in IRMA. The approver has been assigned by your Faculty or School. If you are a faculty approver submitting an application, your application needs to be approved by the alternate approver. In this case, you should email Animal Ethics once you submit your application.


Q. What if my supervisor is not contactable / overseas?

A. The Faculty/School will be asked to provide alternatives in this situation.

Q. My research proposal is approved by another AEC but needs recognition by Usyd, how do I do this in IRMA?

A. University of Sydney students (PhD, Honours, Masters) and staff who undertake research-involving animals at other institutions will need to log into IRMA and create, complete and submit the form ‘Notification of External AEC Approval’
Remember to attach:

  • The letter of approval
  • A signed copy of the application exactly as it was submitted to the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee
  • All correspondence between the researcher and the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee

Please note that large documents may take some time (5 – 10 mins) to upload.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Login to IRMA
  • Navigate to the ‘Animal Ethics’ tab and press 'Create'
  • Select the form 'Notification of External AEC Approval' form from the dropdown menu
  • Press ‘Next’
  • Complete the relevant details in the ‘Coversheet’ tab
  • Attach ‘Browse’ for, and ‘Upload’ of the following in the ‘Documents’ tab: The letter of approval; A signed copy of the application exactly as it was submitted to the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee; and all correspondence between the researcher and the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee
  • Return to the ‘Coversheet’ tab and ‘Submit’ the completed form

Q. My research study has been approved by another AEC and has been recognised by the University of Sydney's AEC. What are my responsibilities to the University of Sydney AEC concerning modifications and annual reports for that project?

A. You should submit modification requests and annual reports to the responsible AEC for approval first.
Once they are approved, you should submit the approval letter/application and all relevant documentation (e.g., amended documents, monitoring sheets) to the University of Sydney's AEC through IRMA.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log in to IRMA.
  • Click on 'Researcher Profile' at the top right.
  • Click on the 'Animal Ethics' tab.
  • Click on the 'Create' button.
  • Select the form 'Notification of External AEC Approval'.
  • In the ‘Coversheet’ complete the relevant details.
  • At the section ‘External Ethics Approval’ press the ‘Add’ button.
  • Fill in the details of the external AEC in the ‘Notes’ screen.
  • Press ‘Save’
  • Move to the ‘Documents’ tab and press ‘Add’
  • Browse for and ‘Upload’ any relevant documents (application/annual report submitted to responsible AEC, approval letter, amended documents)
  • Once all details are complete return to the ‘Coversheet’ tab and press 'Submit’ to submit your form.
  • Chief Investigators can 'Approve' the form under the 'My Approvals' tab.

Following a Submission

Q. After I have submitted my application when will I hear back from the ethics office?

A. First check your application status has changed to “Assigned to a Meeting”. If not send an email asking what approvals are outstanding. If your application is assigned to an AEC meeting, you will receive a response within 10 working days following the meeting. If you have not received a notification after this time, forward an email to

Steps in IRMA:

  1. Log into IRMA
  2. Navigate to the Animal Ethics' tab
  3. Ensure that you are in the ‘View Forms’ window
  4. Press the 'Pencil' button to review the relevant form
  5. Move to the ’Status History’ tab
  6. This will display the Status of the form eg. Draft, Submitted, Assigned to meeting

Q. How do I submit a response or more information regarding an existing application which is yet to be approved in IRMA?

A. For any responses to comments by the AEC, please use the ’Response to Existing Application’ form. The ‘Compliance with Conditions of Approval’ form should be used to address the conditions of approval which have been requested by the AEC. The ‘Modification to an Existing Approved Application’ form is only to be used once a protocol has gained AEC final approval.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log in to IRMA.
  • Click on 'Researcher Profile' at the top right.
  • Click on the 'Animal Ethics' tab.
  • Click on the 'Create' button.
  • Select the form 'Response to Existing Application'.
  • Press the ‘Search’ button and ‘Link’ the required protocol.
  • Complete the relevant details on the Coversheet tab
  • In the 'Documents' tab press ‘Add’ to attach any relevant files
  • Browse for and ‘Upload’ the documents.
  • Once all details are complete, return to the ‘Coversheet’ tab and press 'Submit' to submit your form.
  • Chief Investigators need to 'Approve' the form under the 'My Approvals' tab.

Q. My application is still listed as 'Assigned to Meeting' even though the date of that meeting has passed. Why?

A. Applications have the status 'Assigned to Meeting' from the point at which they are allocated to a meeting up to when the outcomes and meeting are reviewed and finalised by the Ethics Office and the Chair. The status will only change to 'Create/Update Protocol' when the outcomes have been finalised and are being sent out, this may take up to 10 working days. You will then be notified by email, the status will change in IRMA and the outcome letter will be uploaded into IRMA.

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log into IRMA
  • Navigate to the 'Animal Ethics' tab
  • Ensure that you are in the ‘View Forms’ window
  • Press the 'Pencil' button to review the relevant form
  • Move to the ’Status History’ tab
  • This will display the Status of the form eg. Draft, Submitted, Assigned to meeting

Q. I have received approval with special conditions, how do I respond to this?

Log into IRMA and create the form ‘Compliance with Conditions of Approval’. Complete the relevant details and ‘Submit’

Steps in IRMA:

  • Log into IRMA
  • Navigate to the ‘Animal Ethics’ tab and press the ‘Create’ button
  • Select the ‘Compliance with Conditions of Approval’ form from the dropdown menu
  • Press the ’Search’ button and link the required protocol
  • Press the ’Next’ button
  • Complete the relevant details in the ‘Coversheet’ tab
  • Attach any relevant files in the ‘Documents’ tab
  • Press the ‘Save’ button if you want to leave the form and complete later
  • Once the form is ready to submit press the ‘Submit’ button

Feedback

Q. How do I submit feedback about IRMA?

A. We welcome feedback and encourage you to submit any comments via the feedback form on the Animal Ethics website.