Managing approved projects

The Animal Ethics Unit provides researchers with various resources for managing projects that have received ethics approval.

Unexpected adverse events during the conduct of a project

Guidelines for action

NSW legislation requires investigators to promptly notify the Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC) of any unexpected adverse advent that impacts on animal wellbeing.

The ACEC requires that investigators must complete and submit an Adverse Event Report in RIMS within 10 days of the occurrence of the unexpected adverse event.

In addition, when an animal dies unexpectedly or is euthanised due to unforeseen complications, a post mortem should be performed by a person with appropriate qualifications and/or experience and the ACEC should be notified promptly.

Please refer to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition (2013) on the NHMRC website for further information regarding the above.

Apart from being a legislative requirement, there are practical reasons for advising the ACEC of a problem that occurs during the conduct of a project.

It allows the ACEC to assist with any investigation of the problem to ensure that it does not recur. It also serves to educate the ACEC of the potential complications associated with a procedure or study that it has approved.


To assist researchers in complying with this section of the legislation, the ACEC has developed the following resources:


Pain and Distress

The following resource provides assistance for recognising and assessing pain and distress in research animals:


Specific Techniques

Anaesthesia and analgesia

Blood collection


Transport and Acclimatisation

Experimental Neoplasia

Antibody Production

Genetically modified animals

Wildlife research

Post-graduate surgical training


Use of Animals in Teaching Protocols

The use of animals in teaching protocols is governed by the NSW Animal Research Act and Animal Research Regulations.

The legislation directs that an ACEC may approve only those experiments for which animals are essential, taking into consideration ethical and welfare aspects as well as scientific and educational value.

In order to justify the continuing use of animals in a practical class, there must be an evaluation of the effectiveness of the use of animals in achieving the objectives of that class. While the lecturer responsible for the class may have different ways of evaluating the student's achievement of objectives, the ACEC recommends the use of a questionnaire.

To this end, the Committee has developed a pro forma:

ACEC Questionnaire for the evaluation of the use of animals in practical classes (DOC 34 KB)

The general and specific aims/objectives stated in the questionnaire should be the same as those outlined comprehensively in your application for ACEC approval.

Evaluation is mandatory for new practical classes. Once it has been established that the use of animals is justified, the evaluation may be performed periodically (e.g. for submission with each Annual Progress Report/Renewal Application).



Relevant University policies

If you have questions relating to any of the above information regarding Managing Approved Projects, please contact an Ethics Officer.