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Animal and Human Ethics Approval Process - Australian Synchrotron

Animal and Human Ethics Approval Process - Australian Synchrotron

Human ethics*

* This portion of the website is still under construction.  Experiments involving humans are not presently being undertaken at the Imaging and Medical beamline (IMBL) and any experiments involving humans may require approval from an approved Human Ethics Committee.

Animal ethics

Experiments conducted at the Australian Synchrotron (AS) that involve the usage of live animals require ethical approval from the AS Animal Ethics Committee (AS-AEC).  Live animal experimentation may be performed at the Imaging and Medical beamline (IMBL) only, such research is not permitted on any other beamline at the AS.

Organs or tissues from dead animals may be examined at any beamline at the AS, in accordance with the Experiment Authorisation procedures.

The Australian Synchrotron adheres to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th ed. 2013.  As such, all scientific procedures at the AS that involve the holding and usage of live animals at the AS, must be approved by the applicant's approved home institution animal ethics committee (AEC), where relevant, and by the Australian Synchrotron AEC, before the project can commence.

It must be noted that:

  • Approval by the applicant's home institution AEC does not guarantee approval by the AS-AEC.
  • Investigators who are not based at an Australian institute must ensure that their proposal for beamtime is accompanied by an application to the AS-AEC, but does not need to be accompanied by approval forms from their home institute.
  • An approved AEC is one that is recognised under the Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

How and when to apply

The assessment of beamtime proposals and AEC applications occur concurrently, and successful beamtime proposals will only be scheduled once AEC approval is granted.  Owing to this, you are advised to submit your AEC application at the same time as your beamtime proposal.  Provided that your beamtime proposal is successful, this approach will improve the likelihood that your experiment acquires AEC approval in time to be scheduled in the next experimental cycle.  If AEC approval is not acquired in time, the scheduling of your experiment will be delayed to the following experimental cycle, which can be several months away.  Submission deadlines for beamtime proposals and AEC applications are shown below, under 'AEC Meeting Dates'.

  1. Discuss your proposed experiment and animal holding requirements with the IMBL Scientist before submitting your beamtime proposal. 
  2. When applying for beamtime, ensure that the check-box entitled “Will this proposal involve holding or usage of live animals on the Imaging and medical beamline at the Australian Synchrotron?” is checked.
  3. If your home institute has an approved AEC:
  • Submit your home institute AEC application to, including the following information:                
    • the approved version of your Australian institute AEC application; 
    • any approved minor amendments that are relevant to the proposed experiments at the synchrotron; and
    • evidence of approval of the original application and minor amendments.
  • Post submission the AS AEC secretariat will seek a Delegation of Responsibility to Monitor from the home institute to the Australian Synchrotron.
  • Please note that all beamtime proposals must be submitted to the AS AEC secretariat for approval, even when the work to be performed will be covered under an existing AS AEC approval. That is, the proposal number must be explicitly cited against an AS AEC approval number.
  1. If the investigators' home institution is not in Australia, an AS-AEC application form must be completed and submitted to
  2. Subsequent minor amendments can be made using the AS Request for Amendment request form and submitted to

AEC meeting dates

(Updated Jan 2024)

Proposal RoundBeamtime applications closeAEC meeting #AEC Submission deadlineAEC meeting  date
2024/230th November, 20232024/130th January13th February
  2024/25th March19th March
2024/316th April, 20242024/37th May21st May
  2024/49th July23rd July
2025/1TBC2024/517th September1st October
  2024/627th November10th December

Notification of ethics approval

AEC applications with home institution approval will ONLY be forwarded to the AS-AEC for consideration if the application for beamtime is ranked highly enough to be awarded beamtime.  Beamtime may then be awarded, pending approval of the AEC application. The AS-AEC will notify the proposal Chief Investigator of the outcome of their AEC application within 4 weeks of the evaluation of the proposal.

Animal welfare

It is a requirement of the Australian Synchrotron AEC to report all expected and unexpected animal incidents regardless of whether the incident had a negative impact on animal welfare or not. All animal incidents must be reported within 48 hours using the AS-AEC animal incident report form.

Examples of animal incidents that must be reported include:

  • death of an animal, or group of animals, that was not expected
  • adverse effects following a procedure or treatment that was not expected
  • adverse effects in a larger number of animals than predicted during the planning of the project or activity, based on the number of animals actually used, not the number approved for the study
  • a greater level of pain or distress than was predicated in the planning of the project or activity
  • power failures, inclement weather, emergency situation or other factors external to the project or activity that have a negative impact on the welfare of the animals
  • experimental endpoint was not reached due to equipment failures, where animal welfare was not impacted
  • substitution of approved brand of consumable or reagent that was specified in the application that was not available to use during the experiment, where animal welfare was not impacted.

Post experiment reporting

The Chief Investigator on the AEC application MUST submit an AS Animal Experiment Report within 2 weeks of completing the beamtime. Failure to submit the required reports by the stipulated deadline will lead to suspension of approval of the project. The Committee may also exercise its right to withhold approval for new applications while project reports on previously approved projects are outstanding

Chief Investigators must also provide the AEC with the following:

  • an annual report for each project having active approval, regardless of the duration of AEC approval for the project
  • a final report on outcomes as soon as practicable after completion or discontinuation of a project.

The continuation of all approved animal ethics projects is contingent upon the submission of annual reports to the AEC. The report will advise the AEC on:

  • what progress has been achieved, and whether the project is meeting its aims
  • any problems that may have interfered with progress of the project
  • how many animals have been used
  • whether the well-being of the animals is consistent with that anticipated in the proposal.

Annual project reports must be submitted by the 31st January of the following year using the AS-AEC Annual project report form.