Unless a project is “outside the scope” of Griffith’s animal ethics arrangements, or otherwise exempt by the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld), the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) must approve all animal and tissue use before work commences. Starting a project without AEC approval is a serious ethical concern and may initiate breach proceedings as per the Griffith Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Special arrangements exist for research that has already been reviewed by another Animal Ethics Committee.
Examine alternatives to using live animals in your proposed research before applying for animal ethics approval. If animal use is essential, please refer to the:
- Griffith University Guidelines for Animal Care and Use in Teaching and Research
- Guidelines for Completing an Application Form (PDF 300k)
- Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes and any other relevant legislation.
Housing and holding animals
You must consult the Manager of Griffith Bioscience Service Centre if animals are to be housed on campus. All facilities to be used for housing animals must receive AEC approval. If your proposed research will include the holding of animals for any length of time, it’s mandatory to submit an animal monitoring sheet with your animal ethics application. Appendices 4,5 and 6 of the Department of Primary Industries, Codes of Practice for the Housing and Care of Laboratory Mice, Rats, Guinea Pigs and Rabbits provide good examples, however these must be adapted to the specifics of individual projects.
Off-campus (field) animal use
If the research proposed involves animals used in the field or in satellite facilities, animal use should be recorded through the use of a Fieldwork Animal Monitoring Record. This record must include the information provided on the Fieldwork Animal Monitoring Record template.
Investigators using animals in the field or in satellite facilities are required to submit a template of their proposed monitoring records with their applications so that the AEC can ensure that the data collected complies with relevant legislation and is in a form that is suitable for collecting and verifying the animal use statistics that the AEC is required to submit to regulators and external auditing bodies.
Animal Ethics Scope Checker
Researchers can check whether their project requires animal ethics approval by commencing a new ethics application in RIMS, going to the ‘Questionnaire’ Tab and answering the initial questions presented. If an applicant responds ‘Yes’ to any of the questions 1 through 4, the proposed project falls outside the scope of the University’s animal ethics requirements, the applicant will be notified as such and the questionnaire will be complete. Although you may have been advised by the system that animal ethics approval is not required (Outside of Scope or Exempt), you are still required to submit the completed application.
Please contact email@example.com if you require further clarification regarding the need for animal ethics approval or would like to request an exemption notification.
Introducing RIMS (Research Information Management System)
Griffith has launched a new database system called RIMS (Research Information Management System). This system enables all Animal Ethics Applications, Investigator Responses, Scope Checking, Variations and Reports to be submitted and managed within one database. The RIMS Application system can be accessed on the top of this page.
All applications (excluding those determined to be out of scope or exempt applications) are reviewed by the Griffith University Animal Ethics Committee.
Applications are completed online with a number of tabs in RIMS requiring completion. The Questionnaire Tab is ‘smart’ (in that it presents questions relevant to the particular protocol), and offers contextual help. The progress of an application can be tracked online via RIMS.
The following tabs require completion:
- Animal Usage
- Location (if animals are to be housed on campus)
- Documents (upload your protocol, Team Member Table, score sheets, permits, approvals from other AECs, a Fieldwork Animal Monitoring Record here)
Download the Microsoft Word version of the questions that are part of the application process to assist you with preparing your submission in RIMS.
Submitting an application
- Access RIMS using your normal username and password.
- Once signed in, go to the ‘Animal’ tab.
- Follow the application instructions in the Quick Reference Guide. If your project falls outside the scope of our ethics approval requirements, you’ll be notified in the early stages of the application process.
- The entire team and an authorising officer must approve the submission. Refer to the Team Member / Head of School submission approval quick reference guide for further instructions.
- The AEC will review the application and issue a decision.
Signing an application
Every ethics application must be approved (electronically within RIMS) by the entire team listed in the application, as well as the relevant authorising officer (Head of School / Centre Director).
For internal investigators or authorising officers: To review and approve a submission simply log into the RIMS portal, access the 'My Approvals' tab and click on the relevant application, review it using the tabs and then click the 'Approve' button. Refer to the Team Member / Head of School submission approval quick reference guide for further instructions.
For external investigators: Complete the External Researchers Declaration form and upload it to the 'Documents' tab of the application in RIMS prior to submission.
For investigators added by Variation, ensure to upload a New Team Members Declaration Form.
|2018 submission deadlines:
|Thursday 25 January
Friday 2 March
Friday 6 April
Friday 4 May
Friday 8 June
Friday 6 July
Friday 10 August
Friday 14 September
Friday 19 October
Friday 21 November
Standard Operating Procedures
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are detailed descriptions of a standardised procedure that may be used to complement an animal ethics review application. The Animal Ethics Committee has approved a number of SOPs. Please refer to these where possible in your application.
To submit an application an another organisation’s Animal Ethics Committee has already reviewed and approved, begin a new application in RIMS and:
- complete the questions in the Questionnaire tab, ensuring you select “Protocol already submitted to another AEC” at Question 5
- in the Documents tab, upload a copy of the original (approved) application, the approval notification and applicable attachments
- complete the coversheet and submit.
Prior review applications can be lodged at any time. Refer to the Ratification of projects approved by other Animal Ethics Committees for further information regarding this type of submission.
Variations to an approved project
If a change needs to be made to an approved project, a variation request is required. Such changes may include:
- a new location where the research will be performed time extensions
- a time extension
- adding or removing investigators (ensure to upload a New Team Members Declaration Form)
- differences in species/strain/breed/age of animal specified in the approved project.
Variations that involve significant changes to protocols or include any change to the aims and/or hypothesis of a project requires the submission of a new application, regardless of the number of animals being used. Further guidance is provided in Section 8 of the Griffith University Guidelines for Animal Care and Use in Teaching and Research.
Approved protocols should remain up to date in these respects and progress reports should accompany a variation request. Regularly updating of personnel changes also ensures the University's insurance and indemnity arrangements cover the whole team. Requests to extend projects (for 12 months or less) before they lapse, should include up-to-date protocols and a progress report.
See the quick reference guide for instructions on submitting a variation request.
Annual/final/progress or adverse event reports.
Researchers must provide annual progress report on their projects, which are due by 25 January each year. Approvals may be suspended or cancelled if these reports are not provided. If any unexpected adverse events occur, investigators and animal care staff must promptly notify the AEC and a report must be submitted. Refer to the quick reference guide for instructions on submitting annual/final/progress or adverse event reports.
The AEC reviews all annual and progress reports provided for AEC-approved protocols as part of its monitoring activities. The University uses the information to produce the annual Animal Use Statistics Report for the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as part of requirements under The Animal Care and Protection Act (2001). Approval may be suspended or cancelled if reports are not provided.
The Code also requires investigators to monitor and assess animals, maintain records of their care and use, and make such records available for audit by the institution, the AEC and authorised external reviewers. Animal monitoring score sheets and other documentation relating to monitoring animal management and welfare in research are considered primary materials and are to be stored for at least seven years after the last action is taken on the research project. Refer to the Griffith Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research for further information on the management of research data and primary materials.