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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.

Animal ethics application process

A flow chart outlining the steps involved in obtaining animal ethics approval can be found in PDF form here.

For further information on the AEC please refer to the Terms of Reference and Operation Procedures.

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 to Approved Projects form and submitted to
  3. For animal holding only, please ensure you have an active Institute agreement with AS and forward a copy of your approved home institute AEC documentation to

AEC meeting dates

(as at Jan 2020)

Proposal Round

Beamtime applications close

AEC applications close

AEC meeting #

AEC meeting  date


 4th February 2020

4th February 2020


18th February 2020



 16th March 2020


31st March 2020


 19th May 2020

19th May 2020


2nd June 2020



 22nd June 2020


7th July 2020


 8th September 2020

8th September 2020


22nd September 2020



 26th October 2020


10th November 2020

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 holding

The holding of live animals at the AS can be undertaken for scientific procedures at the Monash Biomedical Imaging Facility in accordance with a signed Inter-Institutional Agreement for Delegation of Animal Ethics with the AS, subject to prior notification of home institute AEC approval to the AS-AEC. 

The holding of live animals at the AS may also be performed under the authority of a signed Inter-Institutional Agreement for Delegation of Animal Ethics with the Australian Synchrotron. 

The Victorian Bureau of Animal Welfare has approved the facilities at the Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMBL) for animal holding and experimentation.

Animal welfare

Any adverse or unexpected event that impacts on animal wellbeing must be reported immediately to the IMBL Beamline Scientist and Animal Facility Manager in person, by phone or by email and directly to the AS-AEC within 48 hours of the incident using the Adverse Incident Report form.

Examples of adverse or unexpected events may include:

  • Death of an animal or group of animals that was not expected (e.g. during a surgical procedure, during anaesthesia, following a procedure or treatment)
  • Adverse effects following a procedure or treatment that were not expected. Examples of clinical signs that may develop include, but are not restricted to, diarrhoea, vomiting, respiratory difficulty, collapse, abdominal swelling, rapid weight loss.
  • Adverse effects in a larger number of animals than was expected during the planning of the project.
  • A level of pain or distress that was not predicted during the planning of the project.

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

Animal usage should be recorded only once with the Bureau of Animal Welfare. As such, all animal usage at the AS should be reported through the normal BAW reporting process at your home institute. If your home institute is overseas, you will need to report your animal usage directly to the AS. If this is the case the relevant forms will be sent to you at the end of each calendar year in which you performed animal experiments at the AS.