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.
'Investigators 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 2.4.1)
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.
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.