Obtaining Approval

Approval must be obtained before animals are used for research and teaching purposes at the University of Newcastle.

Application for approval for the use of animals is made to the Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC).

If the ACEC approves the submitted project, it recommends to the University of Newcastle (UON) that an 'Animal Research Authority' (ARA) be issued. UON may require other information before issuing an ARA e.g. evidence that the project is funded and has safety approval. Work with animals must not commence until an ARA is issued.

Below are guidelines to help you prepare and submit your application.

What forms should you use?

Initial ApplicationFor new projects.
Annual Progress Report/Renewal For annual review and renewal of approval for an ongoing project. Research projects that require continuation of ethical approval beyond the initial 12 months need an annual progress report/renewal application.
Variation ApplicationTo add an investigator or teacher, minor/major amendments or to change funding sources.
Observational StudiesTo provide the ACEC with sufficient information to assess whether animal ethics approval is required for activities involving the observation of vertebrate animals. In many cases, the necessity for animal ethics approval is not clear.
Final ReportRequired on completion, discontinuation or supersession of an approved project.
Adverse Event Notify the ACEC of unexpected adverse events concerning an approved protocol.
Report to ACEC Report to the ACEC as required e.g. progress report for pilot study.

Making Submissions to the ACEC

PLEASE NOTE:  Initial Applications are submitted via email to ACEC-Submissions@newcastle.edu.au.  

All other submissions are made through RIMS.

To make a submission to the ACEC through RIMS:

  1. Log in to RIMS
  2. Create a new submission within the "My Animal Use" module or
  3. Use the "Show/List" feature to find an existing protocol to vary.

If you do not have access to RIMS, please contact the Ethics Officer via email to arrange an alternative submission procedure.

Review of initial applications

The Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) pre-reviews all initial applications to the ACEC. The AWO may provide comments and/or suggestions, and return it to you to amend the application as necessary prior to it being pre-reviewed by the ACEC.

Once the ACEC pre-review is completed, you will need to make any necessary amendments prior to submitting the final draft to ACEC-Submissions@newcastle.edu.au to be placed on the next ACEC meeting agenda.

Urgent Consideration of a Variation to an Approved Project

Urgent consideration of a variation to an approved project is considered only in special circumstances based on animal welfare grounds (e.g. the welfare of an animal is at risk if the amendment is not instituted prior to the next meeting of the ACEC).

It is strongly recommended that prior to requesting urgent consideration you contact the Ethics Officer, to advise of the circumstances and discuss the necessity for urgent consideration

To submit a variation to an approved Project for urgent consideration you should:

  1. Complete the appropriate Variation Form in RIMS
  2. Tick the question regarding urgent consideration.
  3. Ensure that clear reasons for urgent consideration of the proposed amendment are outlined in the application.
  4. Submit the application as per the procedures outlined within the eForm.

Submission Instructions

Before you submit your application, you should check the following:

  • Have you used the correct application form and made changes to your initial submission where necessary?
  • Have you used plain English?
  • Have you completed, and appended, the Supplement Document and/or SOPs?
  • Have you included relevant monitoring checklist(s)?
  • Have you completed the e-Form and sent a PDF copy for peer review?
  • Have you submitted the e-Form to the ACEC via RIMS?

Additional checks for new applications

  • Have all persons involved with the use of animals on this project been identified in the application?
  • For teaching protocols, have you included an "Evaluation Questionnaire"?
  • For applications describing mandatory studies required by an external body, have you attached a copy of the documentation that supports the experimental design of your project?

The following conditions MUST be met when submitting applications:

  • The electronic copy of your application MUST be submitted through RIMS by the Chief Investigator or Alternate Chief Investigator.
  • An Honours or PhD student CANNOT be named as the Chief Investigator or Alternate Chief Investigator for an application.
  • If submission by the Chief Investigator or Alternate Chief Investigator is not possible, please contact the Ethics Officer.
  • Applications must be in plain English.
  • Applications must include the relevant supporting documents.
  • The Peer Review requirement must be met.
  • Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on the closing date for the relevant meeting.

Late Applications

Late applications will NOT be accepted and will be deferred to the following meeting for consideration.

See Meeting Dates and Application Submission Deadlines