AEC Application Process

The JCU AEC application forms can be found on Resources, Downloads and Links.

The AEC meets monthly, except for January, usually on the first Tuesday of the month. Submissions to a AEC meeting must be received at least 2 weeks before the scheduled meeting date. On rare occasions, and only if there is a good reason, late applications maybe accepted or urgent review may be arranged.

Animal Ethics Monitor Review

Animal Ethics Monitors have been chosen with expertise in various types of research and with different types of animals to review and provide feedback on your applications to the AEC.

A monitor’s review is not compulsory, but is highly recommended. This review aims to pick up any problems with your application and to improve the likelihood that it will be approved at the AEC meeting.

The Ethics Monitor will provide feedback on your application.

What to Include in your Application

All the information necessary for the AEC to consider your application must be in the application document and the attached spreadsheet and monitoring sheets. Additional documents can be provided to support information in the document, but these should be summarised in the application itself.

Submitting your Application

Once your application has been signed by all personnel working on the project, submit for a signature of your College Dean/Delegate. Send the fully signed application and any supporting information (if applicable) to

Need Help with your Application

If you have any questions about the AEC application form, documentation, application or review process, please contact the Ethics Office. Detailed information on completing you AEC application can be found in the Application Guide (PDF, 700 KB).

Animal Ethics Training and Competency

Animal Ethics Training is available by request or by completing the training modules in LearnJCU. JCU AEC's competency program and SOPs can also be found in the LearnJCU Organisation 'Animal Welfare'. To access these SOPs and the training modules, you can 'Self-Enrol' by searching for Animal Welfare in 'My Organisations'. If you have trouble accessing the site, please email

Compass Online Animal Ethics Training Modules

The Australia New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research has developed free online Animal Ethics training modules called ComPass. Researchers and Students are strongly encouraged to complete this training.

All Scientific Activities involving Animals must be approved by the James Cook University AEC, regardless of the impact the research may have on the animals involved

Scientific Activities include the following:

  • Research and teaching.
  • Production of biological products.
  • Breeding.
  • Displays and exhibits.
  • Population surveys including cameras, boat, and aerial surveys.
  • Bird, bat and fish banding carried out as a part of university teaching or research.
  • It also includes activities such as camera surveys, aerial surveys and other activities where the animal may not detect their participation in the project.

And an Animal is defined as any living non-human vertebrate (i.e. fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and cephalopods (octopus, squid, and nautilus). It also includes the following life stages:

  • Mammal, reptile and bird embryos and foetuses that have progressed beyond half their gestation/incubation period.

Fish  and amphibian larvae are not considered animals for the purposes of the AEC.

If you're unsure whether your activities require AEC approval please seek advice from the Animal Welfare Officer or Animal Ethics Officer

Once your project is approved by the AEC, no changes can be made to any aspect of the project without AEC approval of the amendments. These must be submitted to the AEC for approval before any changes can take place using the form:

Application for a Protocol Amendment

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are documents that provide a detailed description of a procedure or activity. SOPs are best used when a procedure or activity is common to many projects and can save time by providing details of procedures already approved by the AEC. Instead of describing a procedure or activity in the application, you may reference an approved SOP.

New SOPs can be submitted for approval using the AEC SOP Template.

The AEC already has a library of over 200 approved SOPs available to use.

To access the SOPs currently available you can "Self-Enrol" in the LearnJCU organisation "Animal Welfare" by logging in to LearnJCU, click on "Tools" then "My Organisations" and then self enrol. Alternatively you can contact and request access.

Genetically modified (GM) animals are animals that have had part of their genome modified through artificial genetic engineering techniques.

Details of the phenotype (expression of the genotype or genetics of the animal) must be provided to the AEC using the Phenotype Report.

Each state and territory in Australia has different legislation and requirements for the regulation of scientific animal use.

JCU is registered in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory, so is able to approve animal use in these states and their coastal waters.

Even though you are working overseas, you still need to follow the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, obtain JCU AEC approval.

If you are planning to work overseas you need to be aware that other countries may have their own laws and requirements that relate to animal research and teaching.

For projects using animals that are privately-owned, you will need to get written consent from the animal’s owner

Examples of consent forms are available from the Animal Welfare Officer.

If you are carrying out animal work in collaboration with another organisation or individual, you should notify the JCU AEC even if the work has been approved by another AEC and is being carried out elsewhere.

If an applicant is concerned by the way an application has been processed or by the decision of the AEC, the first point of contact is the Animal Ethics Officer or Animal Welfare Officer.

There are procedures in place to deal with appeals to AEC decisions in a fair and independent manner.

An unexpected adverse event is any adverse event that was not foreshadowed in the approved project or activity. Unexpected Adverse Events are be handled according to the Unexpected Adverse Events Procedures.

Complete the Unexpected Adverse Event Report Form and email to the Animal Welfare Officer within 48 hours of their occurrence. 

If you are working in the field, or unable to provide a full report within 48 hours, send an email or contact the Animal Welfare Officer by phone as soon as it is practical to do so.

A progress report must be submitted annually to the AEC, and at the completion of the project, a final report must be received. Submitting the final report will close the project and you will no longer receive report reminders about the project.

Animal Use Reports: Are due annually by the end of the calendar year, and will be all animal use from 1st January to the 31st December of the previous calendar year.

Progress Reports: Are due annually on the anniversary of your project's approval.

Final Reports: Can be submitted when your animal use has been completed. You will also need to submit the animal use report outlining how many animals you used form the 1st January of that calendar year.

You will receive 3 email reminders when your report is due, but failing to submit your report may result the withdrawal of your AEC approval.

To support Rainforest Aboriginal peoples involvement and collaboration in research activities in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, the Department of Environment and Science and Wet Tropics Management Authority will oversee a trial (commencing 1 October 2020).

The trial will commence on 1 October 2020 and will apply to Department of Environment and Science research permit applications:

  1. Permit to Take, Use, Keep or Interfere (PTUKI) – Nature Conservation Act 1992 
  2. Scientific purposes permits over forestry areas—Nature Conservation Act 1992 
  3. Educational purposes permits over forestry areas—Nature Conservation Act 1992 
  4. Permit to Collect – Forestry Act 1959.

For more information form on the trial and the application, see the following documents: