Projects approved by the AEC may have two types of investigators: a Chief
Investigator and Associate Investigators.Chief Investigators have overall responsibility for the project. They are the first point
of contact for the AEC as the project's representative. All reports (annual,
final, unexpected adverse event) and amendment requests should be submitted by
the Chief Investigator to the AEC Executive Officer. Associate Investigators are all the other people contributing to the project who handle
animals, regardless of their specific role.
The Chief Investigator is ultimately responsible for the welfare of
every animal allocated to an approved project although all persons involved
with the use of animals must accept responsibility of those animals at all
times. The responsibility for animal welfare begins from the moment an animal
is allocated to the project to the time of disposal of the animal. It does not
commence just at the time the "experiment" begins.
Whether you are a Chief Investigator or an
Associate Investigator, according to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for
scientific purposes, 8th Edition, 2013 (the Code). The Code is
available at www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/ea28:
have personal responsibility for all matters that relate to the wellbeing of
animals that they use, including their housing, husbandry and care. This
responsibility extends throughout the period of use approved by the AEC until
provisions are made for the animal at the conclusion of their use.' (Section
To fulfil this responsibility for animal welfare, the AEC expects that
monitoring of the animals in a research project will be conducted in accordance
with the specific monitoring regime described in the original application and
endorsed by the AEC for that project. In addition to this, investigators are
also responsible for keeping accurate records of the animals allocated to a
project and how they were used, and ensuring that animals allocated to a
project can be identified at all times.
Section 2 of the Code provides comprehensive details of the
responsibilities of investigators and teachers and it is imperative that all
potential investigators familiarise themselves with these responsibilities.