Prior to Starting

RECS is working with the relevant committees and regulators to facilitate the fast-tracking of important research proposals related to COVID-19 projects where time lines are urgent to contribute to the global research efforts. Researchers should contact RECS to discuss on an individual basis.

Do I need approval?

The NSW Animal Research Act (1985) requires that all research (funded or unfunded) and teaching that uses animals must receive prior written approval from the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committees (ACECs). All animal research at UNSW is conducted in accordance with the UNSW Animal Research Ethics Procedure.

All individuals using animals for research or teaching purposes must be familiar with the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013) as this document provides the practical and ethical framework which governs all scientific animal use in Australia. The Code promotes the ethical, humane and responsible care and use of animals used for scientific purposes and outlines the responsibilities of investigators, teachers, institutions, animal ethics committees and all people involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. Further, the UNSW ACECs must review all animal research ethics applications in line with the Governing Principles of the Code and make a judgement on whether the proposed work is ethically acceptable and meets the requirements of the Code.

To ensure compliance, it is UNSW policy that no research on animals can commence until ACEC approval has been granted for the project. Commencing a project without prior written approval may be subject to criminal prosecution. Further, given the sensitive nature of animal research and the potential for negative media exposure, it is encouraged that all recording of laboratory animals be performed using institutional devices and that email communication related to animal research be conducted using institutional email accounts.

Applications are to be completed and submitted via iRECS.

In line with the 2021 update to the Code to ban the use of animals for cosmetic testing within Australia, the UNSW ACECs do not review or approve research proposing to use animals that involve testing of:

  1. Finished cosmetic products
  2. A chemical ingredient unless the proposed use of animals is justified by a purpose other than use in a cosmetic.
How do I submit a new application?
Closing Dates

Applications must be submitted and validated by 5pm on the closing date. Applications prior to 21 September 2023 are to be submitted via iRECS.  Further information regarding the transition from AEO to iRECS can be found here.


2023-2024 Submission and Meeting Dates


Closing Date

Meeting Date

Tuesday, 14 November 2023*

Friday, 01 December 2023

Thursday, 18 January 2024

Friday, 02 February 2024

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Friday, 01 March 2024

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Friday, 05 April 2024

Thursday, 18 April 2024

Friday, 03 May 2024

Thursday, 23 May 2024

Friday, 07 June 2024

Thursday, 20 June 2024

Friday, 05 July 2024

Thursday, 18 July 2024

Friday, 02 August 2024

Thursday, 22 August 2024

Friday, 06 September 2024

Thursday, 19 September 2024

Friday, 04 October 2024

Thursday, 17 October 2024

Friday, 01 November 2024

Thursday, 21 November 2024

Friday, 06 December 2024


*Submission closing deadlines revised to facilitate iRECS Migration and Transition timeline. Further information on iRECS here.

UNSW Animal Ethics Committees and RECS Animal Care and Ethics

UNSW Sydney upholds the ethical and moral issues involved with the use of animals in research for scientific advancement where researchers acknowledge the responsibilities with the care and wellbeing of research animals.

UNSW has two fully constituted Animal Care and Ethics Committees (ACECs) who have oversight of all animal usage for research or teaching at UNSW and are responsible for the review, approval, and monitoring of these activities.

Animal Research at UNSW is supported through the RECS Animal Care and Ethics teams.

The RECS Animal Ethics team provide secretariat support to the ACECs as well as supporting investigators and animal carers in all matters relating to animal ethics applications and projects, animal facility issues etc. The RECS Animal Ethics team also provide an application preview service.

In addition, UNSW has appointed the Director of Animal Care and Animal Welfare Officers to facilitate animal-based research at UNSW through training and education and to ensure compliance with the Code.

This includes:

  • Veterinary Support
  • Surgical and other animal based research procedures support
  • Post-mortem examinations and assistance with preparation of Adverse/Unexpected Events report
  • Provide assistance with the submission of Animal Ethics application
  • Provide animal handling training through the Animal Ethics and Care course
  • Provide animal-based procedures training
  • Perform any activities requested by the ACEC including inspecting experimental procedures, monitoring animals, and supervising researchers



Responsibilities of investigators

The Chief Investigator(s) and Second Chief Investigator(s) are responsible for ensuring that all animal welfare concerns, and any relevant information and documentation, are communicated to all other members of the research group. This includes any recommendations and/or communications from the Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC) and Director of Animal Care/Animal Welfare Officer, to ensure that all research personnel are informed and able to safeguard animal wellbeing.

For further information on the responsibilities of investigators, and the 'person with ultimate responsibility' (i.e. the Chief Investigator as defined by the UNSW Animal Research Ethics Procedures), please see section 2.4 and 4.4 of the NHMRC Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition (2013).

A UNSW animal research project must always have a Chief Investigator listed that is a UNSW staff or affiliate. 

Animal Care and Ethics Training

Under the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th edition 2013 (the Code), investigators must undertake education, training and competency assessment. A requirement to be listed on an animal ethics application is the successful completion of a recognised animal care and ethics course. Further information regarding courses can be found at UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Training.

RECS Preview Service

RECS offers a preview service of animal ethics applications. 

The RECS unit are familiar with common issues raised by the ACECs and therefore can provide researchers with such feedback to address prior to formal review by the ACECs. In addition, the RECS unit can provide advice on guidelines, codes and legislation associated with your research e.g. Animal Research Act & Regulation and the Code.

The RECS unit have received positive feedback from researchers regarding this service with many noting it has resulted in quicker approval times and less clarifications from the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committees (ACECs).

Researchers wishing to utilise this service should email a copy of their application and associated documents to the RECS unit ( at least one week prior to the meeting submission deadline. For any queries regarding this service please contact  

UNSW ACECs Experimental Technique Procedure (ETP)

The purpose of the UNSW ACECs Experimental Technique Procedure (ETP) is to assist UNSW animal researchers, animal carers and Committee members on current and best practice experimental techniques commonly used for research and/or teaching purposes involving animals.

This template provides a platform for researchers to submit experimental techniques for approval by the UNSW ACECs, providing a standardised format for inclusion in animal research ethics applications. Use of this document is voluntary.

If you wish to use the Experimental Technique Procedure (ETP), please contact our office ( for a copy of the template. The template includes detailed instructions on how to complete the document and submit to the UNSW ACECs for review.

The RECS unit also holds existing approved ETPs in a central unit, which can be provided to researchers upon request and on the approval of the author.

Animal Facility Procedural Document

Clause 2.5.15(i) of the Code states that the Animal Facility Manager must apply for and obtain written approval from the ACEC for all activities associated with the care and management of animals in the facility. The Animal Research Facility Procedural Document Template has been devised to provide guidance to Facility Managers in completing this task.

Other Compliance

Research is governed by a range of legislative and other requirements which may not always be obvious or known. Animal research may also require approval from the Gene Technology Safety Committee, Radiation Safety Committee, NSW  Health, and National Parks and Wildlife Services, to name a few. A summarised list of commonly regulatory compliance requirements associated with animal research can be found here.

Collaborative Research (within Australia)

Clause 2.6.6 of the Code states “Arrangements between institutions should be as a formal agreement. Institutions should avoid unnecessary duplication of processes”, and Clause 2.6.8 states Investigators must notify the AEC in writing if they are involved in collaborative studies using animals at another institution, or if they are named in an application to the AEC of another institution.”

At present, UNSW Sydney has in place a Collaborative Animal Research Agreement with the following research institutions:

  • Australian National University (ANU)
  • Charles Sturt University (CSU)
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Macquarie University (MQ)
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)
  • South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
  • Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), including the ANZAC Research Insitute, Centenary Insitute, Heart Research Institute, and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • University of Canberra (UC)
  • University of Melbourne (UM)
  • University of Newcastle (UON)
  • University of Sydney (USYD)
  • University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), including Westmead Institute of Medical Research
  • Western Sydney University (WSU)

If you are collaborating with an Australian research institution not listed above, please contact so that a formal agreement can be arranged.

UNSW has an affiliation agreement in place where animal research conducted at the following research institutions are reviewed by the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committee:

  • Children's Cancer Institute (CCI)
  • Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research (Ingham Institute)
  • Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
  • South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD), including St George Hospital
  • South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD), including Liverpool Hospital 

UNSW has an affiliation agreement in place where animal research conducted at the following research institutions are reviewed by the Garvan/St Vincent's Animal Ethics Committee:

  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • St Vincent's Hospital
  • Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

*If collaborative animal research occurs where an animal is brought from a collaborating institution to UNSW, permission must first be sought from the relevant animal facility manager. This may include details of proposed timelines, health screen reports, transport, husbandry practices from the collaborator (cage type, stocking density, food, water, bedding, etc).

Animal Research Conducted Interstate

In Australia, animal research is governed by state-based legislation. UNSW is currently accredited in the following states & territory:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia
  • Northern Territory

If you intend to conduct animal research in a state or territory not listed above, please contact so that accreditation can be arranged.

Projects involving staff or students of UNSW or affiliated institutes (in a capacity other than Chief Investigator) approved by an external Australian-accredited animal ethics committee are to be submitted in iRECS via the Externally Approved Application function.

Animal Research Conducted Internationally

The Code states that animal research projects conducted overseas:

  • Complies with the governing principles of the Code, provided that such compliance does not breach relevant local legislation
  • Is not conducted in other countries as a mechanism of avoiding compliance with the Code

The UNSW Animal Research Ethics Procedure requires that ‘Where a research project involving animals is to be conducted overseas and the person responsible is a UNSW researcher or employee of an affiliated centre or institute, UNSW ACEC review is required’. To facilitate this review, UNSW has established a process where relevant animal ethics documents approved overseas are provided to the UNSW ACEC for ratification.

Documents that may be required for the ratification process include, but are not limited to, a statement indicating why the research will be conducted overseas, attesting that it is not a means to avoid compliance with the Code, and that the project complies with the
governing principles of the Code. The ACEC also requires assurance that animal facilities meet the standards expected of UNSW animal facilities. Such documents are to be submitted in iRECS via the Externally Approved Application function.

UNSW reserves the right to request that the requirements of the Code and local compliance are met prior to the commencement of the any animal research project conducted overseas on behalf of UNSW or an affiliated centre or institute. Any issues relating to legal or other processes are resolved as set out in the Code.


New law for foreign researchers conducting research in Indonesia

In line with Indonesian regulation (Govt. Regulation no 41/2006), all foreign researchers intending to conduct research activities in Indonesia must obtain an official permit from the Indonesian authority in advance, including research permit and research visa. A new national science and technology law in Indonesia has recently been passed which imposes penalties on foreign researchers who do not comply with these requirements. Penalties range from blacklisting to fines and possible imprisonment. Whilst this law has been introduced, implementation regulations and guidelines for the law still need to be developed.

The guide, developed by the Department of Education with the support of the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, outlines the process for applying for the permit and visa. Further information regarding the research permit application process can be found here

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact UNSW Animal Ethics (


National Institutes of Health

UNSW is accredited with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) under Animal Welfare Assurance number F16-00070 (A5097-01) (expiry date 31 January 2028). should be informed of any animal research funded by the Public Health Service (PHS) and/or the US Government before this identification number is used in correspondence to such agencies.